By Foday Moriba Conteh
The National Federation of Farmers of Sierra Leone (NaFFSL) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) has on Friday 20th January, 2023 concluded a one-day training for district representatives which included National Executives, District Coordinators and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Monitoring and Evaluation Officers for all 15Agricultural Districts in order to equip them to undertake a National Farmers Registration drive across the country. The ceremony was held at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Office in Bo District.
In his statement, the Director, Agric Extension Services Division at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Aiah J. Thorlie, commended the move by the National Federation of Farmers of Sierra Leone (NaFFSL) towards undertaking a national farmers registration drive, which he described as very important towards complementing the work of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in having a national farmers database in the country.
He said Sierra Leone as a country should have a database of farmers across the country, which he said will be used by NaFFSL and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in terms of addressing challenges faced by farmers and also give support to farmers in the country.
Aiah J. Thorlie assured the National Federation of Farmers of Sierra Leone (NaFFSL) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security continuous support.
The National Coordinator of the National Federation of Farmers of Sierra Leone (NaFFSL), Brima Babo said that the federation had been undertaking activities to help increase their productivity and enhance household levels of food security in the country, adding that with the national registration of farmers in the country this will support their goal.
He revealed that the registration drive will seek the full contribution of farmers of different value chains and stakeholders in the sector to have a database of farmers in order to buy-in into the current transformation and Government policy shift plans.
On her part, the President of NaFFSL, Madam Yatta Samah said NaFFSL is an Umbrella Organization of farmers in the country, adding that the federation has been undertaking activities to help increase their productivity and enhance household levels of food security.
She said that the federation is proud to inform all that as part of their efforts towards having a database of farmers in the country the federation will be undertaking a national farmers registration drive that will give them the correct database of the farmers in the country with specific commodities.
Madam Yatta Samah said the gathering brought together district representatives and the technical people from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security that understands issues faced by farmers in the country in order to make the farmers registration drive a reality, stating that as part of their commitment towards making the drive a reality the federation deemed it fit to undertake the one-day training in order to equip them as to how to undertake the national farmers drive in the country.
She used the opportunity to express appreciation to His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio for his tremendous efforts towards the development of the agricultural sector in the country adding that His Excellency has placed premium on Agriculture and in that regard his Government has supported farmers with tractors, seeds, fertilizers, physical cash, IVR system and female friendly machines, which she said has actually supported local farmers in the country.
“We know the Government has made some efforts towards the agriculture sector, but I want to also use this opportunity to appeal with the Government and development partners to support the National Federation of Farmers of Sierra Leone (NaFFSL) which is the Umbrella Organization of farmers in the country,” she appealed.
The President concluded by calling on all farmers across the country to come out in numbers in order to participate in the National Farmers Registration Drive, which she said will help them on their advocacy and lobbying on issues faced by farmers in the country.
She further informed the gathering that each farmer will pay a minimum sum of 30 New Leones as their registration fee.
Concluding the opening ceremony was the official commencement of the training on how these district representatives will undertake the national farmers registration drive by the led consultant, which was followed by the disbursement of over 200,000 New Leones to all the District Representatives in all their 15 Agricultural Districts as their facilitation fees to undertake the registration drive in their various district.