WELTHUNGERHILFE Celebrates International Cooperatives Day

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By Tamba Borbor

Welthungerhilfe fondly called WHH through its Pro-Resilience Action 2015 (ProAct 2015) Project has on Saturday 4th July 2020 celebrated International Cooperatives Day. The United Nations-designated Day celebration took place at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Hall in Koidu City, Kono District with the theme: “Cooperatives for Climate Action.”

In his opening remarks, Alusine Bangura, the Administration and Finance Officer of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) explained that all farmers have a responsibility to fight climate change which makes the celebration worthwhile.

“Cooperatives are a backbone to national development and if you don’t have a good climate, it affects productivity,” Bangura stated; adding that it is very important for people to be sensitized and their awareness raised about the urgency of protecting the climate.

The Chief Administrator of the Kono District Council, Mohamed Marah noted that the issue of the environment falls under the most important responsibilities of his office. “We are all awre of the devastation caused by climate change in the world and surely agriculture would not thrive without a better environment,” Marah stated; adding that as the world develops so does issues of climate change become a challenge.

Representing the Produce Monitoring Board, E.G. Bangura stressed that ensuring the best of quality cocoa and coffee is exported is one of their sole responsibilities while urging the farmers to pay heed to issues affecting the environment.

Komba Issa, the Chairman of Kasayatama Cocoa Farmers Cooperative acknowledged that with adverse environmental conditions, their annual yields would be significantly affected.

He thanked WHH ProAct 2015 for the continued support to the agricultural sector in the country especially those farmers involved in cocoa and coffee.

“With the interventions of WHH ProAct 2015, we have acquired new skills which have resulted in better production,” Issa stated.

Aiah Brima, the Chairman of the Fiama Cooperative profusely thanked WHH ProAct 2015 for developing the capacity of Cooperatives in Kono District. On the theme of the celebration, Brima noted that they as Cooperatives are fully aware of the challenges posed by climate change to the survival of their cocoa and coffee business. He vowed to encourage members of cooperatives to take significant action in tackling threats posed by environmental issues.

Kadija B. Brima, the Charlady of Yormata Cooperative stated that women are greatly challenged in the agricultural sector while the changing climate creates unpredictable yields. She acknowledged the tremendous impact of WHH ProAct 2015 project on their livelihoods.

“WHH has empowered women in Kono District and embolden us to stand side by side the men in this sector and life,” Mrs. Brima stated; adding that traditional agricultural practices are significantly affecting the environment.

The Yormata Chairlady also thanked WHH for teaching them how to save money locally as members of cooperatives to prevent arduous challenges in seeking Bank loans.

In his Keynote address, the District Extension Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Bai-Ingha Bangura praised WHH ProAct 2015 for the ongoing intervention in the agricultural sector in Sierra Leone. He noted that human activity is responsible for prevailing challenges faced with the environment.

“It is laudable on the part of WHH for bringing members of Cooperatives together in discussing about climate change,” the District Extension Officer said.

Mr. Bangura highlighted some of the chemicals and activities that destroy the environment and affect the climate.

“Climate change impacts on four pillars of food security namely, earlier or late rains, new diseases and high temperatures,” Bai-Ingha Bangura stated. He urged all in the agricultural sector to be mindful of the effects of climate change and act accordingly to save the world.

The International Cooperatives Day celebration attracted key players in the agricultural sector in Kono District including Cooperatives, Produce Marketing Board, Sierra Leone Traders Union amongst others.

The United Nations International Day of Cooperatives is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of July with the aim of increasing awareness on cooperatives, highlight the objectives of the UN and the international Cooperative Movement, underscore the contributions of the movement to the resolution of major problems addressed by the UN and strengthen and extend partnership between the international cooperative moment and other actors.

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