By Brima Sannoh in Pujehun
Dr Kandeh Yumkella, Chairman of the Presidential Initiative on Food Security and Climate Change, has vowed to use his expertise and office to help realize the goals of ‘Feed Salone,’ the presidential initiative designed to transform Sierra Leone into a food self-sufficient nation.
Mr Yumkella said on Monday during the launch of the initiative in the southern district of Pujehun that its success rests in the hands of everyone, especially traditional authorities.
“If President Bio is to succeed in his quest to feed Salone, it is therefore the responsibility of the traditional authorities, especially our Paramount Chiefs, Members of Parliament, councilors and everyone else, to get fully involved in every aspects of the implementation of the programme,” he said.
The initiative was launched as part of commemoration of World Food Day 2023, which was hosted in Pujehun Town.
Yumkella was named Chairman of the Presidential Initiative on Food Security and Climate Change in August, tasked, among others, with the responsibility of helping to achieve President Julius Maada Bio’s agenda on food security and Climate Change.
‘Feed Salone,’ according to the ‘New Direction’ administration, is one of its Big Five transformative agenda for the next five years, which is the final term of President Bio.
In his statement at the event held the PDEC Field in Pujehun Town, Yumkella assured farmers of his commitment towards the initiative, promising to respond to their needs proactively.
The Bio administration has vowed to allocate 10% of the country’s national budget to the agriculture sector as part of this effort. But this amount, according Yumkella, is far from being enough given the task at hand, describing it as a “drop in the bucket.”
He however added that it was a good start.
“If farm implements, seeds, fertilizers and other forms of support did not reach you in time or if what you receive is not exactly what the Ministry said it supplied to you, call us. We will immediately respond and take the necessary actions as a team in charge of this initiative. That is our job,” the former presidential aspirant said.
Yumkella said that the Ministry of Agriculture, farmers, his team and the committee in parliament should always be informed about what is happening regarding the programme.
Yumkella, an expert on renewable energy and climate change, also used his speech to appeal for foreign donor support from Sierra Leone’s global partners.
“There is a political will to better the lives of our people through agriculture. We have prioritized feeding our people, transforming agriculture,” he said, adding: “We need your support; we need real partnership to transform this system.”