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Sierra Leone News: Cocoa farmers to benefit from free school

Cocoa farmers in Kono, Kenema and Kailahun are set to benefit from free farming education under the Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Program (CORIP) implemented by Solidaridad with funds from the Dutch government. According to John M.P Sinnah, the free farmers schools in the various districts will commence this April and ends in December 2019, with the expectation of exposing the farmers to modern ways of producing cocoa. He disclosed CORIP I was implemented in Ghana and Ivory Coast and due to its remarkable successes and business cases created, the donors decided to fund the CORIP II that was extended to Liberia and Sierra Leone. “In Sierra Leone CORIP is being implemented in three (3) districts; namely Kenema, Kailahun and Kono, to support cocoa intensification and production improvements by facilitating improved farmers access to inputs and extension services. He said it is also used to test and validate economically viable and operationally feasible service delivery models for production support services through the creation of Farmer Support Centers (FSCs), disclosing Solidaridad have successfully completed the training of 102 participants including 61 farmers. “These farmers are expected to replicate the ideas gained to other farmers in a 9 months period before engaging in any other personal activities’” he said. According to Sylvanus Agordorku, the trainer of the 102 participants, they were successfully training on the various components involved in seed planting to yield more production. He disclosed that these trainees and the other farmers that will benefit from the free school are expected to plant the over 765,920 improved cocoa varieties nursed by partners through Solidaridad support across the three (3) operational districts. Adu Momoh, one of the beneficial farmers, said he had been in cocoa farming for over 25 years, Lower Boama village, Luawa Chiefdom Kailahun district, through his now deceased father in their aged farm. He added, due to their land topography they have benefitted a lot in cocoa farming. He disclosed the idea gained during the 3 weeks training have helped shape his mind on how to eradicate farm decease and also life style that will change the cocoa production. He further explained how he will engage his people upon arrival home on how they can improve on their cocoa production. The Kenema District Agriculture Officer disclosed before the civil war cocoa farmers used to buy vehicles after every harvest, but as at present that is not the case due to the destruction of farms, adding tree crops have the highest advantage for farmers. “Farmer free school is the shortest way of improving cocoa farming across the three districts,” he said, urging the beneficiaries to make use of the opportunity and replicate the ideas to others in various communities for the good of the nation.

By Alhaji Manika Kamara

Tuesday April 2, 2019.




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