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Sierra Leone News: SLeCAD members donates to quarantine homes

As the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease continues across the Country, two members of the Sierra Leone Chamber for Agric-Development Business, Sierra Mix/Benni Mix and Mountain Lion Agriculture, on Monday donated over 150 bags of locally produced rice and Benni Mix to people in quarantined homes in Bombali, Tonkolili, Port Loko, Kambia, Bo, Moyamba, Kenema, and Kailahun districts.
According to the Chief Executive Officer and also the Co-Owner of Mountain Lion Agriculture Sierra Leone limited, Donald Ola Smart, he said that if the Country wants be among the most developed countries in the world, the authorities should pay more attention to Agriculture especially the private sector which is very vital in any country’s development strides. He added that the idea of helping people in quarantined homes at this particular time was in the minds of SLeCAD membership, which was complemented by financial assistance from two Contractors who constructed the 2 tonnes per hour rice mill in Bombali  District in Masomgbo, Makarie Gbanti Chiefdom, as they sent the sum total of $7,600 (seven thousand six hundred US dollar) to buy rice and distribute it to the quarantined home in the worst affected districts across the country .
He maintained that as an agriculturist who has invested a lot of money in establishing a state of the art rice mill in the country, he thought it fit to buy 600 bushels of the locally grown rice from the farmers at Lokomasama and other parts of the country and then pay some women to boil it before taking it to the rice mill for proper processing. He explained that the reason for such a decision of not buying the imported rice is for him to demonstrate that Sierra Leoneans can produce their own rice which can meet all the international standards required as the rice milling machine can de-stone and clean the rice and also sew the bag after packaging.
The CEO of Mountain Lion Agriculture stated that the rice distributed to the quarantined homes is the first product of his mill as they are yet to receive their licence and other certificates from the Environmental Protection Agency for them to start full operation. He opined that they deliberately decided to use plain white sack to package the rice so that it can be easily identified in the quarantined homes as they will distribute the rice to all the worst affected districts no matter the quantity.
Receiving the rice and Benni mix on behalf of the Bombali District, the Deputy Chief Administrator in the District Council, Abdul Koroma, stated that they should be the one gathering farmers and providing foods for the people in the district as the government has tried to move the Country to be food sufficient by establishing the ABCs which are under the control of the Councils. However with the inadequate funds received from the central government they then decided to team up with the other development partners as there is the Public Private Partnership which has been manifested by the Mountain Lion Agriculture.
He maintained that one of the key pillars of human security is food security as without food one will not be healthy and the nation will not be in proper position to provide for itself. He explained that one of the main causes of death with Ebola affected people is due to weak immune system which is as a result of lack of nutritious food which one can find in the African food which people have neglected over the years.
He expressed thanks and appreciation for the timely intervention of the private sector in donating such a nutritious food which can be very vital for the people in quarantined homes.
Speaking on behalf of SLeCAD, the Executive Director, Ahmed Nanoh, said that the mandate of the Chamber was established to promote private investment in Agriculture which includes industrialisation which has been demonstrated by one of their member, the Co-Owner of Mountain Lion Agriculture, as they want to put the Country to work by utilising the various resources as expected, creating the necessary work force required by the country, make tremendous impact on food security and also eliminate poverty from the pocket of the poor farmers.
He maintained that their aim is to ensure that farmers are well equipped with the necessary equipment to do their work properly as farmers the world over are not poor. Furthermore he said it is to ensure that Sierra Leonean products are seen in the market competing with foreign products as one hardly go to the supermarket and see local produce competing with foreign goods. He stated that the donation is just the tip of the ice berg as many of their members are planning to do similar things with their local produce so that Sierra Leoneans can feel and benefit from their local commodities.
The distribution exercise of the food items started in President Koroma’s home town in Yeli Sanda in Bombali District, where eleven quarantined houses received the foods.
By Alhaji M. Kamara
Thursday November 27, 2014

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