The Sierra Leone Chamber for Agribusiness Development (SLeCAD) has on Thursday, 28th June, hosted a meeting for SAKATA Seed Company and local farmers at Radisson Blu Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown.
The meeting was geared towards introducing SAKATA Seed and Input Company to farmers in the country with a view to building a state-of-the-art industry in Sierra Leone capable of producing and supplying quality seeds and input technologies to small holder farmers and large scale agro-industries along the agricultural value chains that will ensure jobs and wealth creation goals, improve food security for all Sierra Leoneans.
Speaking during the meeting, Executive Secretary of SLeCAD, Ahmed Nano, expressed thanks to the company for partnering with the chamber through a private dealer.
He said the chamber has been longing for a vibrant seed sector in the country and that farmers who had wanted to go into agro industrialisation could now have access to quality seeds from a recognised firm.
"What is killing our farmers and making them to be poor is because the seed sector or input they are using is either used or out used," Nanoh said, adding that with the coming of the global seedling company, the problems of farmers will be a thing of the past.
The Executive Secretary expressed optimism that under the leadership of the New Direction, agriculture will grow in the country and expressed hope that SAKATA would help the country's farmers develop with bumper harvest.
He assured the company of the chamber's support at all times and encouraged farmers to work with them.
Vincent Celada, from Sakata Vegetables Europe, said the company has been in existence since 1913 and has become a global brand in vegetable seed and input in the world.
He said that seeds Sakata will be providing for Sierra Leone include cabbage, carrot, cucumber, melon, okra, onion, pepper, squash, tomato, and watermelon, adding that the company has good seeds that can thrive well in the country.
He continued that they will work with farmers through their local contact and the Agribusiness Chamber to supply seeds and input to farmers, adding that they will be providing training for them.
Focal person for Sakata in Sierra Leone, Chernoh Musa Kabia, said the company is the third largest seed company in the world and has been in the business of seedlings for over one hundred years.
He said that as a farmer who is aware about challenges farmers face in the country, he worked hard to bring the seedling company to partner with the Agribusiness Chamber.
Kabia said Sakata Company has been doing very well in neighbouring countries like Senegal, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire and Togo, amongst other countries.
"For a farmer to be successful in farming, he or she should have the right input. That's why I tried all out to bring them to help my colleague farmers," he said.
The Sakata focal person further said the price of Sakata seeds will be minimal and that the company will provide technical support to farmers on how to use the seedlings for better harvest.