VP Juldeh Jalloh Urges Farmers to Eat What they Grow
By Bampia James Bundu Strategic Communications Unit MIC
The Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has over the weekend launched the World Food Day celebration at the Ansaru Boys Secondary School Field in Kono. The ceremony which was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security in partnership with Sun Secretariat was graced by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Ministry of Trade and Industry, FAO, Helen Keller International, UN Family, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Ministry of Development and Economic Planning.
In his keynote address, the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh expressed thanks and appreciation to farmers from accross the country who traveled from their various regions to grace the wonderful celebration.
He commended the Ministry of Agriculture and line ministries who came together to ensure that the celebration was a success.
Dr. Juldeh Jalloh stated that World Food Day celebrations have been observed for decades but this one is special and very important as it is the only celebration that urged the United Nations to hold Food Summit in New York to deliberate on the effects and possible solutions to food shortage in the world, and to also set a road map on how to make the world food self sufficient.
He maintained that oppositions parties have been blaming the government for the increase in prices of commodities in the country knowing fully that such increments are caused by global price hikes. He described food production as an important component in alleviating poverty in a country, that was why His Excellency the President Julius Maada Bio focused his key priorities on Human Capital Development targeting Agriculture, Education, Health among others.
The Vice President Dr. Juldeh Jalloh disclosed that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the world seriously. “We have to grow what we eat and eat what we grow. It’s hightime we stopped depending on other nations for the importation of food; the world is starving today due to crisis in food during this pandemic,” he said.
The Vice President used the forum as an opportunity to catalogue the successes the New Direction government has attained over the past few years. He revealed that this government has invested a lot in Health, Education, Agriculture, Economic Transformation, Corruption among others.
The Chairman Kono District Council Mr. Solomon Gbondo praised the Vice President and other stakeholders for choosing Kono as the venue to host this year’s World Food Day celebrations. He stated that it’s hightime Sierra Leoneans started to grow what they eat and eat what they grow as with that food security will be attained.
He revealed that food production is not the problem in Sierra Leone but post harvest challenges, as immediately after harvest, farmers eat almost all that which they planted. He appealed to the farmers and the authorities to continue to put more premium on agriculture and pleaded with the President to do more to make Sierra Leone food secure.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security Dr. Theresa Dicks expressed her appreciation to the farmers leaving their various areas to travel to Kono to celebrate the day. She thanked the Vice President who graciously accepted to celebrate with the farmers. Dr. Dicks described this year’s celebration as strategic as the world all over is working towards ensuring that food self sufficiency is attained.
She maintained that the Agriculture Ministry alone cannot provide food for every Sierra Leonean that was why the ministry has had a policy shift in partnering with the private sector.
“Private sector partnership will give even farmers the opportunity to benefit from whatever the government is involved in,” she said, adding that government has invested a lot in agriculture over the past three years and they are committed to do more.
She assure the Vice President and other stakeholders of a wonderful celebration and urged the delegations to visit all the booths and enjoy the wonderful products of Sierra Leonean farmers.
In his address the Deputy Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Mr. Ibrahim Turay described the theme for this year’s celebration “Our action are our future, better production, better nutrition, better environment, and a better life” as timely and could not have come at a much better time.
He revealed that fish is the largest source of animal protein in Sierra Leone, which is why the government of President Bio is putting premium on the fisheries sector with a view to improving food and nutritional security and diversification of country’s economy.
“We have an opportunity as a country to change the narrative and bring back our once prosperous agriculture and fisheries to an ecologically sustainable and economically efficient level in the country,” he said.
Further statements of solidarity were made by members of the UN Family, and other stakeholders.