During a dynamic and enlightening segment on SLBC’s Morning Coffee Program, Dr. Henry Musa Kpaka, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security in Sierra Leone, captivated the nation with his presentation of President Bio’s ambitious vision for the Feed Salone Initiative.

This exclusive interview, which took place on October 9, 2023, provided valuable insights into the government’s determined efforts to revolutionize the agricultural sector and stimulate economic growth.

Dr. Kpaka initiated the discussion by reflecting on a pivotal roundtable event held just days prior, on October 5th, 2023. During this significant gathering, he says, President Bio articulated his visionary plan for Feed Salone to a diverse audience, including key partners, international financial institutions, civil society organizations, and agricultural sector investors.

In continuation, he says the primary objective of President Bio, is to ensure that all stakeholders gain a comprehensive understanding of the groundbreaking nature of his initiative.

One of the key points emphasized during the interview was the strategic approach to attract young individuals back to rural areas and encourage their engagement in agriculture.

Dr. Kpaka emphasized that Feed Salone is dedicated to crafting incentives that will inspire individuals to actively participate in agriculture, thereby improving their livelihoods and strengthening the nation’s economy.

The Minister also underscored the vital role of animal husbandry in Sierra Leone’s agricultural landscape. He presented compelling statistics, revealing that the country had imported a staggering $60.8 million worth of frozen chicken from April 2022 to August 2023, causing adverse effects on the national currency.

He says, β€œTo address this issue, the government is actively working to create a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive in animal husbandry. Moreover, plans are in progress to rehabilitate veterinary stations, ensuring the health and well-being of livestock.”

Access to finance, a cornerstone of the Feed Salone strategic plan, was another focal point of the interview. Dr. Kpaka reiterated the government’s commitment to promoting diversification in the agricultural sector, with a focus on providing essential resources and support to enable graduates to enter this promising field, utilizing technology to optimize agricultural output.

The Minister also emphasized the government’s dedication to adding value to agricultural products, outlining plans for system implementations, construction of storage facilities, and the establishment of accessible markets for farmers. He stressed the paramount importance of market access and pledged collaboration with organizations like the World Food Programme (WFP), the police, the military, and others to promote locally grown products. This collaborative effort aims to reduce imports and enhance the nation’s food self-sufficiency.

As the Minister passionately described the Feed Salone program, Sierra Leoneans were left with a sense of optimism for Sierra Leone’s agricultural future.

The government’s unwavering commitment to agricultural innovation and transformation is poised to cultivate a prosperous and sustainable future for the nation, ushering in a new era of agricultural excellence.