IFAD Asset Request Portlet

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Statement by Dr. Joseph Sam. Sesay,Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security on the occasion ofIFAD's 32nd Governing Council

Impact of food crisis

  • Population below Poverty Line already above 70% before crises of four (4) Fs: Food, fuel, fertiliser and financial. Yesterday another F added: Frustration! Thus five (5) Fs now!
  • 50% price increase for Rice, country's staple
  • About 50,000 or almost 9% population submerged into the poverty line as a result

Interventions

National Agric Response Programme (NARP)

  • Social Protection Net (WFP): feeding programme, purchasing power enhancing activities, reduction of tariffs on food imports.
  • Boosting Domestic Production by Ministry of Agriculture.
    • Integrated approach: (a) Crops + Livestock + post-harvest (agro-processing facilities and (b) support provided along Agric Value Chain: from input supply to marketing
    • Using farmer-based Organisations (FBOs): 15 FBOs per District for all fourteen Districts of Sierra Leone
    • Tractorization Scheme leading to cultivation of over 46,000 Acres : 2 to 3 times more than Ministry has ever done in history
    • Revolving Improved Seed Supply Programme of over 1,800 MT
    • Addressing serious structural problems of Agric: feeder roads to connect Supply with Demand of Producers with Markets

Lessons Learnt

  • Dialogue involving sector stakeholders develops partner confidence and therefore entrusting of donor resources to mutually agreed one partner (pooling donor resources); FAO in Sierra Leone
  • May donors participated and contributed to pooled resources ("basket funding system"): IFAD, ADB, EU, Irish, FAO, IDB, etc
  • All donors agree to post-transaction compliance checks to donor procedures or process. This is a very serious breakthrough in history of donor relaxation of conditions!!

Current actions to address food crisis

  • Agriculture declared First Priority of Government since October 2008
  • Budgetary Allocation to Agriculture significantly increased from less than 2% over a decade to about 7.5% in 2009: close to requirement of Maputo Declaration 2003 of 10%
  • Presidential Task Force on Agriculture (PTFAg) established bringing all stakeholders to the dialogue table: relevant MDAs, key donors, the Private Sector including farmers and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
  • The President chairs the Task Force to ensure ALL stakeholders cooperate.
  • An Agricultural Policy and Incentive for Private Sector Investment in Agricultural has been passed by Government which, among others:
    • Provides for 5-year import duty waiver on agric inputs for investors
    • 5-year tax holiday for investors
    • Government can serve as intermediary by leasing land from the owners and sub-leasing to the investor in order to relieve the ladder of the incumbrances of multiplicity of land ownership in Sierra Leone
    • Land for bio-energy to target marginal lands and not compete with land for food production!

Sector Vision, Objectives and Vogue

  • Vision: make Agriculture the ‘engine' for socioeconomic growth and development through commercialization
  • Objectives:
    • Increasing agric productivity (intensification)
    • Promoting diversified commercial agriculture through the Private Sector, including farmers and their farmer-based organisations (FBOs)
    • Improving research and extension delivery services
    • Promoting efficient and effective resource management
    • Mainstreaming cross-cutting issues: gender, youth, farmer health (HIV/AIDS), malaria, etc) and environmental sustainability
  • Vogue: since the new Government came to power in 2007, it has brought to focus:
    • Commercialisation of agriculture
    • Private Sector promotion
    • Use of Farmer-based organisations as farmers support delivery strategy
    • Integrated approach to agriculture along the agric value chain of input supply, production, value addition and marketing, including exportation
    • Farmer subsidization especially for productivity increasing inputs
    • Irrigation given country's natural endowment
    • Rice self –sufficiency: rice being the staple and studies have shown that we have the comparative advantage to compete in the international market for rice.
    • Mechanization to address the serious shortage of farm labour.