Even as the deadly Ebola virus Disease rages its fatal effect on the populace, there are still farmers and agriculturists who believe that there is every need for the continued production of food to serve as a catalyst in eradicating the disease from Sierra Leone.
One such man is the Field Technician at the Rokupr Agricultural Center (RAC) - Lansana K. Abdulai who oversees the Lowland Experimental Site at Kpetewoma village in the Bumpe Chiefdom, Bo District where the Iron Toxicity Screening Project of the West Africa Agricultural Program (WAAPP) in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI) is being implemented.
The project is aimed at discovering varieties of rice that can withstand iron toxicity in a bid to providing more options to rice farmers nationwide.
Although he acknowledges that the Ebola outbreak has effect on agriculture in the country, the Field Technician believes it’s insignificant as farmers believe “food is needed to fight Ebola.”
Agricultural activities still continue all over the country as farmers are doing their best to ensure food security is achieved as entrenched in President Ernest Bai Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity which is implemented with the leadership of the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) - Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay.
“The people know that after the disease would have been eliminated, there is a possibility of food shortage and to forestall that, they are sustaining their farming activities so as to ensure there is enough food to eat all over the country as our people need nutrition. This disease cannot stop us from continuing our farming activities,” Mr. Lansana noted.
True to this endeavour, there has not been any form of shortage of locally-produced rice since the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) throughout Sierra Leone- thanks to the deluge of agricultural projects and well-thought-out result-oriented strategies put in place by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security.