Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday 18 February, 2022 – Sierra Leone’s Ministers of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security and Fisheries and Marine Resources have met with the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, ICBA, in Dubai, where they spoke on the challenges and opportunities in Sierra Leone’s agriculture and fisheries sectors.
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dr Abu Bakarr Karim, said that agriculture was an important component of Sierra Leone’s Human Capital Development Agenda with a focus on increased food production. He noted despite the agricultural sector amounting for over seventy percent of the country’s workforce, there were still challenges in terms of producing enough food for consumption and commercial purposes.
He said that his ministry had undertaken key policy shifts to create a friendly environment that would encourage private sector investment, while also exploring the opportunities in research, technology and innovation in order to enhance value addition particularly during postharvest period to reduce the food insecurity gap.
On her part, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Emma Kowa Jalloh said that they were meeting to learn and share experiences in order to improve the fisheries sector. She said they were challenged with protecting and conserving stocks for which her ministry was looking at investment in areas such as solar cold-rooms and icemaking machines to preserve the quality of marine products. She also mentioned the need for capacity building particularly for women in repackaging and fisheries management.
Deputy Director General of ICBA, Dr Tarifa Ajeif Al Zaabi, said that they were focusing on providing solutions to food production to match the growing global population. She mentioned they were open for partnership to deliver agricultural and water scarcity solutions in marginal environments. Dr Al Zaabi also assured their willingness to partner with Sierra Leone through capacity building to achieve food and agricultural security.
Also in the meeting was Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Rashid Sesay, who commended ICBA for its ongoing projects in Sierra Leone and expressed optimism for more collaboration in other priority areas.
The visiting delegation also took a conducted tour of the ICBA facilities especially its aquarium site. ICBA is a UAE-based non-profit applied agricultural research center that works on sustainable livelihoods and food security in marginal environments.
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