Chief Minister Professor David John Francis has joined government ministries and international partners to celebrate World Food Day at a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security at Moyamba Junction, Moyamba District.
With the theme: “Our Actions Are Our Future: A Zero Hunger World is Possible by 2030”, the event brought together farming groups and associations, local council leaders and traditional authorities from all parts of the country to grace the event, which was being observed across the world.
Professor Francis said that the Bio administration was particularly concerned about the huge cost on government importing rice into the country, saying it was not sustainable and that government was determined to invest in the agricultural sector and to enhance large food production that would ensure food security in the country. He noted that producing enough food to feed everyone was a strategic priority for the new government.
“Our rating last year as the third hungriest country in the world is unacceptable. That is why as a responsible government, we have committed ourselves to enhance food security in the country. This is a commitment from the President and we have the passion to achieve what the President wants for this country.
“President Bio’s commitment to food production has been manifested in his public pronouncement that all political leaders must have farms and must be involved in farming in the country. We need a complete turnaround in our food production. In doing so, we have to empower our women and youth because they are the most productive capital and capacity in the agricultural sector,” the Chief Minister said.
A representative of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Joseph Brima, said they were particularly delighted about the new government’s commitment to increasing food productivity that would ultimately eradicate hunger in the country, especially at a time when the FAO was celebrating its forty years of operations in Sierra Leone. He added that specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger was determined to support government’s programmes in achieving its zero hunger drive.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Joseph Jonathan Ndanema, said a lot had gone wrong over the years which had adversely affected the production rate of food in the country. He expressed delight over the political will on the part of President Bio that allowed him to freely carry out his operations, saying that that would enable the ministry to achieve its set priorities. He added that going forward, the ministry would embark on serious mechanised farming that would increase production level.
“As a government with a focus to enhance food sufficiency, we are making agriculture both the driver and engine of our country. While we do our best as a ministry, it is worth noting that we cannot do it alone. Thus, we need the collaborative efforts of all to deliver our country from hunger. The government is spending a lot annually on rice importation which is not good for our economy. My ministry will work assiduously with other ministries to change that narrative this time around,” he assured.
The World Food Day is an annual event celebrated globally by member nations of the United Nations. In September 2015, all UN member states approved the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The interpretation of hunger and all forms of malnutrition in Sustainable Development Goal number two was defined by all world leaders as a cardinal objective of the Agenda conditioned for a safer, fairer and more peaceful world.
By: By: Mohamed Massaquoi (Mass)