The Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, Dr. Sam Sesay Monday 2nd July 2012 said in Freetown that Sierra Leone has within a limited period of time made tremendous gains in the agricultural sector under the All Peoples Congress (APC) led government of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma
“Sierra Leone has made significant breakthrough in exporting organic cocoa, which fetches a high premium (more than normal price) in the world market. Both the export quantity and total value have significantly increased”, he said.
Speaking in an email forwarded to this medium, Dr. Sesay disclosed that the award of champions was given by the Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki on 21 September 2009 for taking quick and determined action for for Sierra Leone to undergo the Comprehensive Africa Agric Development Programme (CAADP) process and framework adopted by all Heads of State and Governments of Africa under the Maputo Declaration 2003 for the formulation of a long-term Agric Sector Investment Programme (ASIP).
President Koroma and the Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security CAADP Champions in Africa.
“For us the CAADP process culminated in the formulation of the National Sustainable Agric Development Programme (NSADP); a 20-year programme (2010 – 2030), and the signing of the CAADP Compact by all the sector stakeholders (relevant MDAs, donors, private sector farmers, civil society, etc”, the Minister of Agriculture and added.
Such an achievement, Dr. Sesay said motivated government to increased budgetary allocation to agriculture from an inherited 1.6% to about 10%, thus keeping with one of the agreed targets under the Maputo Declaration for governments to allocate 10% of their budgets to agriculture.
He further revealed, “our government was quick to negotiate firm donor commitments of almost 50% of the NSADP’s budget of US$403m. The programme was kick-started almost immediately because of an inter alia committed donor funding to the Government’s National Agric Response Programme (NARP) to the hiking global prices of food commodities”.
Dr. Sesay said President Koroma established a Presidential Task Force on Agriculture which he chairs and Vice President Samuel Sumana deputizes him with relevant ministers, donors, representative of private sector, farmers, civil society, who meet of a on quarterly basis to determine progress, and give policy direction and undertake field monitoring and evaluation.
As a result of these gains made by the government of Sierra Leone President Koroma and the Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security were awarded as champions of CAADP in Africa.