Statement by Dr. Joseph Sam. Sesay,Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security on the occasion ofIFADs 32nd Governing Council
IFAD Asset Request Portlet
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
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
- 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
- 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.