In Sierra Leone, agric minister on strategic approach to large scale investment
Published: 18 Jun 2013
Posted in:  Sierra Leone
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Minister Sesay visiting Germany in 2012
Awareness Times | Jun 18, 2013

In Sierra Leone, agric minister on strategic approach to large scale investment

By Umaru S. Jah
Information Attache in Germany

It is with no doubt that Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has made significant progress in ensuring that the sector becomes a viable engine for economic growth and sustainable development in the country. The increased budgetary allocation to the Ministry coupled with the political will demonstrated by President Koroma has seen remarkable improvement in several areas of intervention.

After the successful implementation of many agricultural programmes across the country, the Minister of Agriculture Dr. Sam Sesay has continued to engage international partners to further improve the sector and enhance agricultural growth in the country. His recent participation in the 10th international “Policies against Hunger” conference held in Berlin, Germany, depicts a good sign of hope and could trigger more investment opportunities in the not too distant future.

According to the Minister, the conference revolved around the question of how the standards and principles described in the “Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of national food security” can be applied, stressing further that questions regarding large scale investment for a win-win situation in Africa, and ensuring that land owners maintain their rights were among the issues discussed.

Access to land and other natural resources and their sustainable management are of vital importance to people in rural areas. The aim of the conference therefore was to promote awareness and understanding of the Voluntary Guidelines and the willingness for proper implementation. It also promoted the international exchange on necessary framework structures and measures between different stakeholders involved, and developed specific recommendations for action among others.

Being the only Minster of Agriculture and Food Security from Africa in attendance, Dr. Sesay disclosed that Sierra Leone will be among the first few countries that would receive assistance from the German government through capacity building for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines, especially in the area of monitoring large scale investment. Other areas of possible intervention, he said, will include large scale processing of commercial products and establish a multi stake holders system for land rights in Sierra Leone.

In his 2008 policy paper, Dr. Sam Sesay singled out the issues of large scale investment with a need to provide investment incentives for private sectors. As a result of Government’s private sector investment incentives, Sierra Leone has attracted a number of large-scale, especially foreign direct investments that are undertaking large scale mechanized farming over the years.

“Many more have expressed interest to come and we are working on modalities to accommodate them in a way that the land owners and government can benefit,” the Minister stated.

Dr. Sesay will proceed to a Rome to attend the 38th session of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UNFAO) He will be accompanied by Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Germany, Jongopie S. Stevens.