President Julius Maada Bio has engaged the national and district executives of the Paramount Chiefs, (PCs) in Sierra Leone, where he revealed his second term’s Big Five agenda with special emphasis on ‘Feed Salone.’

President Bio expressed his eagerness to engage with traditional authorities, in particular, to consult with them on national issues, adding that they were vital in the realisation of his agenda and the aspirations of his government.

“I want to consolidate the gains we have made in human capital development in the first five years. This time, with the big five game changers and Feed Salone, you know what it means. This is not only focused on feeding ourselves as a nation, but it is also my government’s efforts to create job opportunities for young people”.

The president stated that he is handing over the first part of the Big Five agenda to the Paramount Chiefs, asking them how Sierra Leone can feed itself as a nation and export, which was happening in the past. He added that the government cannot do it without the support of paramount chiefs because they are the custodians of the available land in the provinces.

“We need to have a clear understanding of how the government and other parties, interested in large-scale farming, can negotiate to use the least amount of available arable land for farming activities. The first problem to achieving this agenda will be access to land because large-scale farming requires thousands of hectares of arable land”.

He continued that his government wants to make farming interesting and a profitable venture, where the right seeds and fertilizers are readily available, adding that a comprehensive soil survey that will assist in ensuring farmers harvest 7 tonnes per hectare will be conducted.

President Bio urged the Paramount Chiefs to identify land and land-owning families and engage them on how government and citizens could work together to achieve Feed Salone. He reminded them that, as a government, they believed in the buy-in of all paramount chiefs and land-owning families for the availability of land to achieve Feed Salone.

Hon. Paramount Chief Sheku Amadu Tejan Fasuluku Sonsiama III, on behalf of his colleagues, thanked President Bio for handing over the Big Five agenda to them, which according to him, was a challenge that they were ready to take on and support his government achieve.

“His Excellency, the achievement of the Big Five is a challenge for you and every other Sierra Leonean, especially when the average Sierra Leonean cannot afford to go to bed without eating rice. This has become a mindset-related issue for citizens who don’t believe in any other food other than rice,” he said.

However, the Paramount Chief assured the President that they, as Chiefs, would deliberate on the issues and would later take the consultations to the chiefdoms where they would also engage with all land-owning families and adequately provide feedback to the President.