Pres. Bio Denounces Continual Rice Importation

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Julius Maada Bio

By Fatmata Jengbe

The First Gentleman of the Republic of Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio has said it is inimical to the country’s rapid economic development if we continue with the importation of rice. The President claims that as a nation we are spending huge sums of money just to import rice which happens to be the staple food. “Spending more than two hundred million dollars every on importation of rice is not reasonable especially when the country has fertile lands and a dependable climate,” he averred adding that we can grow more rice than what we consume.

He made that statement during a meeting with Sierra Leoneans in the United Kingdom on the fringes of the ongoing UK-Africa Summit in London. He said the country is not benefitting much from the status quo though blessed with the necessary resources which can be properly harnessed to reverse the situation. “We have been lazy, we have not been organized, the leadership, all of us who have been in leadership is to be blamed but there is a point to put an end to such,” Bio argued.

He went on to state that they will continue to invest in agriculture so that the country can be rice self-sufficient so that the sector can boost the country’s GDP. He also said the country should not only depend on the mining sector because it is not stable; pointing out an example of the cut down on iron ore prices in the market in 2013/14 but that investing in agriculture is a sure and sustainable way to maintain livelihoods. He called on Sierra Leoneans and investors to come and invest in the country; and encouraged those with dual citizenship to come while assuring them of reviewing the laws that disqualify them from aspiring for political positions so that they too can come to contribute to national development.

President Bio did not only campaign on the basis of human capital development and fighting corruption but he also made commitments in encouraging private sector development across all sectors including agriculture.

The country signed a project last year for the production of 12,500 acres of rice production by small-holder farmers in the riverine/grassland areas of Torma Bum aimed at increasing rice production in the country.

 

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