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Farmer Bockarie says Loan Scheme for Farmers will ensure success of the Feed Salone initiative

During an exclusive interview following the third day of the oversight visit by the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Food Security, Safinatu Bockarie, the District Coordinator of the Farmers Federation Kenema, emphasized the necessity of establishing a loan scheme for farmers to ensure the success and sustainability of the Feed Salone initiative. As a Master Farmer, she stressed the importance of providing financial support to enable farmers to engage in large-scale agriculture and food production to meet the needs of the population.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), Safinatu's Federation is actively involved in monitoring and educating farmers about the Feed Salone program with the aim of promoting large-scale farming.

She highlighted that over eight thousand farmers in Kenema District have been registered with allocations of substantial acreage for cultivating crops to support large-scale food production for local consumption and potential export.

Safinatu underscored the capital-intensive nature of farming, especially in the development of Inland Valley Swamps (IVS) farms, urging government to provide loans to serious and committed farmers.

She emphasized the importance of collateral to demonstrate a farmer's commitment and credibility, suggesting that leased land for swamp farming could serve as a form of collateral. Safinatu emphasized that collateral requirements would ensure that the funds are utilized effectively, benefiting the local community through job creation and economic development.

She also explained that the farmers were registered last year and have allocated the large  acreage of farm land to be cultivated for large scale food production in the country to be able to have enough to eat and export to other countries.

The Master Farmer said that in Kenema District, they have registered over eight thousand farmers for a one thousand hectare farm land  allocating to one hundred and twenty farmers which is not part of the Food System Resilience Program (FSRP) and Agriculture Value Chain Development Project (AVDP)  and others.

"As I'm talking to you now , I'm a Master Farmer with  over seventy hectare IVS farms just in Kenema and not to mention my out-growers in the villages. As I speak to you now, I have  over forty workers in my farm that are working and I'll be joining them shortly after this engagement with MPs."

She thanked the Government through the Agriculture Ministry and disclosed that her farm groups are benefiting from the AVDP, FSRP and even the Feed Salone targeting serious and sober-minded farmers as beneficiaries.

On what is to be done for the success  of the Feed Salone initiative, Safinatu said: 

 "Government needs to give out loans to sober-minded farmers because farming is capital intensive. You can't do farming without money, especially when most of the Inland Valley Swamps (IVS) farms are not developed. If the Government truly wants us to achieve the Feed Salone, they  must encourage the granting of loans to sober-minded farmers who in turn can present collateral to show that one is a farmer. You can't call yourself a farmer when you don't have something tangible to show. Even if  you are going to undertake swamp farming it should be leased, by doing so it is a collateral that shows  your seriousness and credibility. This can help the Government and also the people of Sierra Leone."


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