The Ministry of Youth Affairs has acquired a total of five thousand, two hundred and fifty (5,250) acres of farm land over the last two weeks, through the Youth in Agriculture Project.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Andrew Lawrence Sorie, confirms that the 5,000 acres in Tonkolili and 250 acres in Kono cost the project Fifty Million Leones (Le50,000,000.00) each in compensation payments to land owners.
“This project promotes youth empowerment through job creation and employment for rural and peri-urban youth dwellers,” the PS asserts.
The project continues to progress steadily chiefly due to the support and political will from the Minister and his deputy, Mohamed Orman Bangura and Luseni Kallon respectively.
The Ministry is currently working to set up Project Management Teams for the various farms.
Next stage will be recruitment of young people to work in the farms.
Similarly, the Ministry plans to acquire farm land in Koinadugu and Kenema before the year ends.
It is of significance to note that the amount used to acquire these lands is far less than what was expended on similar activities in the previous administration.
Asked about the disparity in the portions of land acquired in the two districts with the same amount in compensation package, the ministry’s PS clarifies thus: “We asked for 250 acres from the two districts and Tonkolili offered as much as 5,000. Kono being a diamond rich district offered exactly what was required of them. Each district gave what was available and we overly appreciate their willingness to give so much for so less”.