Sierra Leone: Agriculture Ministry Faced With Fertilizer Challenge

The Ministry of Agriculture is currently faced with the challenge of providing fertilizers for the second application, which would subsequently affect the planting season.

So far, 36, 000 bags of fertilizers were procured by the government and have been supplied to farmers for the first application.

The absence of fertilizers to boost agricultural production would definitely hinder the sector in achieving its goal if urgent measures are not taken by the government and major partners like the World Bank.

The country needs 155, 000 bags annually for three applications in a planting season.

Now that the country is desperately in need of support in the agriculture sector, the Ministry is calling on the World Bank and other donors to intervene immediately so as to help Sierra Leone in its drive to attain food self-sufficiency.

Before now the Ministry used to purchase fertilizers at $125 per bag but suppliers have agreed to bring fertilizers at $78 - $79 per bag, thereby causing the country to save lots of money.

"Due to urgency, we decided not go for competitive bidding, we rather went through our data base to identify those that have been supplying good fertilizers to the country. We ask them to bid for the supply of 250,000 bags, 100, 000 to go used for this year second and third applications and 150, 000 bags for next year," says the Ministry's Public Relations Officer, Abu Bakarr Daramy said.

Report states that not less than five companies bided for each of the three types of fertilizers required, namely Nitrogen Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) 15:15:15, 20:20:20 and Urea with three companies selected after a successful bidding process.

Farmers are provided fertilizers on a batter trade system. A bag of fertilizer cost each farmer two bushels of rice normally given after harvest.

Source: Concord Times.

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