Concord Times (Freetown)

16 May 2012

Sierra Leone: EU Boosts Food Security

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security last Thursday, on behalf of the government, received 2,250 tons of food items from the European Union delegation in Sierra Leone at the WFP warehouse, Queen Elizabeth II Quay in Freetown.

The food items were procured by the EU as part of a three million euros contribution to World Food Programme under the European Union food facility.

The EU attaché in Sierra Leone, Giampiero Muci, said the gesture was in support of the smallholder production and youth employment within the ministry of agriculture.

He said the overall objective of the intervention was to reduce the effects of what he described as the protracted crisis on the poorest and most vulnerable parts of the Sierra Leonean population.

The donation will be used to provide food assistance to approximately six hundred thousand people belonging to smallholder farm families in return for their work to rehabilitate inland valley swamps, smallholder plantations, post-harvest drying and feeder roads that will help them take their produce to the market.

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay, commended the efforts of the European Union toward Sierra Leone's development, noting that 77% of the people are poor and that 66% are directly involved in agricultural activities.

"As part of government's commitment to promoting agriculture, we have provided some machinery in every agricultural centre across the country," revealed Dr. Sesay. "Today our government is thankful to the European Union for their tireless funding in the agricultural sector in the country."

He said the donation will assist farmers in all districts across the country to rehabilitate their swamps for intensive rice cultivation.

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