Amidst a backdrop of fertile lands and untapped potential, a significant step towards agricultural resurgence has begun.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Henry Musa Kpaka, and the Chairman of the Presidential Initiative for Climate Change, Renewable Energy and Food Security, Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, led a team of government officials on a pivotal visit to Mambolo and Samu Chiefdoms in Kambia District to assess the region’s agricultural infrastructure as they aim to implement the Feed Salone project in Kambia District.
The primary objective of this visit was to closely evaluate the Mambolo Rice mill and Seed Multiplication Programme (SMP) infrastructures.
It aimed to gather firsthand insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by local farmers, particularly concerning the loss of substantial quantities of rice to neighboring countries post-harvest.
Upon observing the infrastructural landscape, Minister Kpaka expressed a notable revelation that Mambolo alone possesses the potential to provide sustenance for half of Sierra Leone’s population if its agricultural structures are reactivated and adequately supported.
He introduced the Feed Salone initiative to the farmers, characterizing it as a transformative force for the agricultural sector.
The minister asserts that, the government’s intention is to not only ensure food security for Sierra Leoneans but also to uplift the national economy through enhanced agricultural practices. He emphasized the collaborative role that all citizens must play in actualizing the vision of Feed Salone. Minister Kpaka underscored that private sector partnerships would drive the initiative, fostering commercial agriculture and value addition.
Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, reflecting on the region’s history, painted a vivid picture of Mambolo and Samu’s former glory as the nation’s rice hub during the 1960s and 1970s. He recounted times when German buyers visited to procure rice from Sierra Leone.
His words echoed hope and aspiration: “I want to see those glories return. I want us to go back to the days when Sierra Leone exported rice to other countries.”
The farmers of Mambolo and Samu welcomed the Minister, Presidential Initiative Chairman and team with open arms and applauded their earnest concern. In a resounding chorus, they expressed their readiness to collaborate closely with the government. While they acknowledged the constraints they faced, they confessed exporting rice to Guinea due to a more favorable market and consumer demand, despite local production capabilities.
The team’s engagement extended further to Kychon, where the potential for Boli land and the Regional Rice Value Chain project were explored. This endeavor promised benefits to the Samu community, forming yet another thread in the intricate fabric of Sierra Leone’s agricultural resurgence.