1 June 2019

Sierra Leone: To Boost Agricultural Productivity

Thai company ready to introduce organic bio-fertiliser

Artemis & Angel Co. Ltd, a Thai based company, which specializes in producing very effective, advanced bio-technology, 100% organic products for replacing chemical agriculture with 100% organic farming, is ready to invest US$125 million to boost agricultural productivity in Sierra Leone.

According to the Marketing Manager of the company, Peter McAlpine, they traveled to Sierra Leone and met with former President Ernest Bai Koroma and former Minister of Agriculture, Professor Monti Jones in 2016 and discussed a 5-year US$125 million Credit Fund proposal so that government could phase out chemical agriculture altogether and replace it with 100% organic farming with all the social, environmental, macro- and micro-economic, employment, and health benefits that it entails.

The purpose of the Credit Fund, according to the proposal, is to provide the country with two advanced bio-technology 100% organic, liquid, microbial bio-fertilizers (Bio-Plant and Pro-Plant) and very generous credit terms, which will help the country to phase out chemical agriculture completely over 3 years, and also to free up resources, which will assist the social and economic development of farming communities, and help the country to achieve its food security goals.

The Credit Fund will enable farmers to replace chemical fertilisers with 100% organic bio-fertiliser supplies and ensure that all farmers can obtain bio-fertilisers on credit for their crops and pay later. The efficacy of the organic bio-fertiliser has already been demonstrated in many countries, including Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand, and Vietnam.

According to the Marketing Manager of the Company, the Ministry of Agriculture carried out field tests in 2016 which went very well, and that the report showed that the bio-fertilisers were more effective than chemical fertilisers.

"We showed the Minister how the country's agriculture could be expanded massively in a 100% organic way, and how Sierra Leone could become Africa's first 100% organic agriculture country. The benefits for the farmers and the economy would have been immense," he said, adding that Sierra Leone has to go 100% organic and to make regenerative agriculture the norm one day, so they thought that their proposal would be of interest.

Peter McAlpine said the US$125 million Credit Fund proposal included not increasing the price of the bio-fertilisers for 5 years; 0% interest; a 30% deposit; and 12 months credit each year.

"The farmers and the economy would have benefitted so much. The cocoa industry would have become 100% organic and expanded over a large area; and the country would be exporting 100% organic cocoa in a year or two. The bio-fertilisers have been certified by the Ghana Cocoa Board for use all over Ghana's cocoa plantations. The young men standing at traffic lights selling water and plastic goods would be able to return to their rural homes and earn a better living."

He said just 1 litre of one of the 2 bio-fertilisers would fertilise one hectare of land for under US$20 per litre, compared to 3 or 4 bags of chemical fertiliser at US$79+ per bag, adding that the litre would restore the soil's fertility while the chemical fertilizer and sprays would ruin the soil more and more.

He said plans were underway to present the Credit Fund proposal to the New Direction Administration for consideration in the interest of the country.

He called on the New Direction administration to see reason and accept the proposal from the company, which he said would help a lot in boosting the agriculture sector and enhance food security in the country.

Meanwhile, the Credit Fund is in the form of the bio-fertilizers, not cash and the amount can be increased far above US$25 million as long as the terms are adhered to. The minimum amount for 12 months and 0% interest credit is US$18 million per year. If the amount is less, the credit period will be reduced accordingly.

One of the current major agricultural projects of the company is to help countries in Africa to transform their cocoa industry from chemical cocoa production to 100% organic cocoa production in line with the global demand for healthy and chemical-free cocoa and chocolate.

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