By Ralph Sesay (PRO Njala University)
Deputy Vice- Chancellor of Njala University and who also doubles as Pro-Vice Chancellor of the same University, Professor Bashiru Koroma, has inspired various laboratory technicians currently taking part in a four-day Laboratory Training and Harmonization Methods Workshop at the School of Agriculture and Food Science earlier on Monday 14th September, 2020.
The DVC told the participants that the purpose of the workshop is to ensure uniformity of laboratory analytical procedures and operations by the harmonization of methods and training of laboratory staff.
This, according to him ,will improve the quality of service delivery and reliability of results from the three participating laboratories in the National Comprehensive Soil Survey. Professor Koroma underscored the point that Laboratory soil analysis is a critical component of every soil survey or land suitability assessment and that one of the objectives of the survey project is to enhance the capacity of the existing targeted laboratories at Njala University, Sierra Leone Agricultural and Research Institute (SLARI) as a way forward to producing reliable data for making management recommendations, he concluded.
The four-day workshop hosted by the Soil Science Department, School of Agriculture and Food Science headed by Dr,Patrick Sawyerr, the Project -Lead has brought together laboratory technicians from the Rokupr Research Laboratory ,SLARI and Njala University Quality Control Laboratory to provide knowledge and training for them on laboratory analysis and harmonization of methods for the conduct of the survey.
Dr. Abdulrahman Kamara, Director Engineering Division, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security who served as Chairman for the ceremony underscored the fact that, the status of our soils in Sierra Leone was critical for the Country’s Food Security drive and assured all that the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security is keen to having the project succeed and has a resounding confidence for all the players involved especially Njala University and SLARI ,the leading agricultural institutions in Sierra Leone in terms of research and agricultural productivity.
He thanked the European Union, through the Boosting Agriculture and Food Security Project (BAFS), for providing funding for the project and urged the participants to pay attention to the different facilitators for the next two days.
Arnaud Havet the representative from the European Union /BAFS project indicated that they were motivated by the level of collaboration amongst the various players in the agricultural sector especially the Ministry of Agriculture for what he described as the strong leadership.
He pointed out that the survey was timely for the fact that the status of our soils was integral to any agricultural transformation.
Professor Emeritus Edward Rhodes in a zoom presentation noted that the survey is expected to analyze a total of 30,000 soil samples quickly and efficiently in tandem with international best practice.
He emphasized that the survey has got the resources and will expertly be able to produce quality results that would be internationally accepted.
Representatives from SLARI, the Rokupr Research Center also made meaningful presentations at the ceremony.
Earlier in the day, the Dean of the School of Agriculture and Food Science, Dr. Alieu Bah pledged the support of his school and the University Administration by extension to the accomplishments of the project deliverables while Project-Lead for the National Comprehensive Soil Survey Dr. Patrick Sawyerr, who also doubles as the Head of Department Soil Science, welcomed the various participants, donor partners and all and sundry to the ceremony.
The climax was a presentation by Alie Kamara, Laboratory Manager for Njala University Quality Control Laboratory on the draft Copy of the Laboratory Manual with a view to ensure that laboratory methods and processes in all of three identified laboratories are harmonized to be able to produce the same results for the different sample of the survey.