On Wednesday 17th August 2022, a team of Chinese seed experts paid a courtesy call tothe Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Seed Certification Agency, Dr. Robert Chakanda, in a bid to exchange ideas on quality seed production.
The visit of the Chinese team was as a result of the exemplary work of the current Executive Director, Dr. Robert Chakanda, in ensuring that quality seed is produced locally for the increased yield of the country’s staple food. The Chinese have been working with the Ministry of Agriculture in developing the agriculture sector in the country for a while. During the visit, the Executive Director explained the challenges that they are faced with, among which is the poor facility at the laboratory, the need for more training of staff and the exchange of knowledge on attaining quality seed for better yield.
Dr. Robert Chakanda further updated them on the various developments in the sector, as well as the government’s stance to end the importation of seeds for farmers and the encouragement of farmers to produce more seeds. He furthered that in the current situation, no one will be able to import seed without the expressed permission of SLeSCA. He further explained that this is necessary toenable the agency to test all seeds coming into the country, as well as those produced locally. He disclosed that to ensure that the value chain is maintained, SLeSCA has been able to identify seed dealers, seed growers and farmers. Seed dealers should have seed shops where they store their seeds and sell them to the farmers, the eventual users of the seed. The Seed growers are involved in growing the seed with technical support from SLeSCA, to ensure that quality seeds are produced.
Dr. Chakanda further briefed them that the government is also supporting the farmers financially with cash they can access through the banks in a sort of loan scheme, which they pay later.
The Chinese team expressed willingness to collaborate with SLeSCA in developing the seed sector and enhancing seed sufficiency, with the ultimate aim of achieving food security in the country.
Climaxing the visit, the Chinese team was taken on a conducted tour of SLeSCA’sfacility, including the laboratory.
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