His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has met with the Chairman of Elite Agro, Sultan Alshamsi, to discuss possible ways of investing in food cultivation in Sierra Leone.
Elite Agro is the leading producer and distributor of agricultural commodities in the UAE, engaging in growing, sourcing, importing and marketing a wide range of high-value agricultural products through world-class technology and effective distribution chain with the most economic use of natural resources. The company operates in several countries in Africa and around the world.
President Bio said that food security was an important part of his human capital development priority, adding that adequate food productivity was integral to the country’s overall developmental plans. He said his government was encouraging investment in the agricultural sector to be able to produce more food, create jobs, and reduce the importation of foodstuff, particularly rice the staple food of the country.
He noted that Sierra Leone was a perfect place for agricultural activities because of its fertile land and added that with the required modern technology, the country would return to its past glory of being a rice exporting nation. He also mentioned that he was looking at possible ways of transferring modern skills to locals, saying that that was the best way of taking people out of poverty.
“We want to produce more food to feed our people and reduce rice importation and as well begin to export food items to other parts of the world. We have landed the African Free Trade which means we also have a big market of 1.2 billion to sell our products. We also want improved technologies because that will help us get improved variety of crops,’’ he said.
Chairman of the Elite Agro, Sultan Alshamsi, said that they were interested in investing in Sierra Leone because of the favourite climate they had seen. He said they were ready to help the West African nation grow its own food to feed its people with enough to export, which would help boost the local economy.
He assured that they were ready to answer the call of President Bio by investing in skills transfers to locals to ensure the country produced foodstuff with international standards. He said they would work with the community to ensure social sustainability that would bring added value to the communities in which they would operate.
President Julius Maada Bio, who was accompanied by Her Excellency the First Lady Mrs Fatima Maada Bio, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the UAE, Rashid Sesay, and other senior members of government, was also taken on a conducted tour of various operating farms of the EliteAgro in Al Ain, UAE ‘s inland oasis city on the eastern border with Oman.