For the first time in the history of development in Sierra Leone, the government central policy for national development has prioritized agriculture as the mainstay of National Growth and Development.
The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper two (PRSP II) dubbed the Agenda for Prosperity (A4P) of the Government of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma adopted as the central policy for National Development in 2012 enlists agriculture and agricultural based activities as the "engine for socio eco-nomic growth and development through the commercialization of smallholder farmers and the promotion of private sector investment" in the country's agricultural sector.
The A4P was no doubt tailored to meet the demands other global agricultural objectives like the National Agricultural Investment Programme (NAIP) of 2003 Moputo Declaration of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) to which Sierra Leo-ne is a signatory.
NAIP is a the CAADP process for the formulation of a long-term investment programme of all African Governments to ensure that budgetary allocation to agriculture is increased to 10% and to seek to register 6% agricultural annual growth as a means of re-focusing the approach to agricultural development in the face of the looming financial crises and food insecurity.
The current agricultural bias National Development Policy also seek to emulsify the national agenda for growth and development with the agriculture core to the Millennium Development Growth One (MDG1): reducing poverty and tackling food insecurity. This is certainly a strong show of political will by the government that for the first time employs a holistic approach that seeks to not just conquer food insecurity but also ensures that the country's agricultural potential is fully harnessed both for the individual prosperity of our farmers and well as the development of the nation.
The pace at which the Ministry of Agriculture is taking advantage of the policy shift in agricultural development under the leadership and Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay as his lieutenant depicts not just mere political commitment but have guaranteed that the state and nation of Sierra Leone get due benefit from a rigorous implementation of these finely hewn out policies.
The level of political will is such that in just three years (2007-2010) in the reign of power, the government was able to beat the CAADP Moputo Declaration of meeting the 10% budgetary to agriculture. This particular feat and many more was unmistakable reason why President Ernest Bai Koroma and Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay were declared CAADP Agriculture Champion President and Champion Minister respectively for Africa in 2011.The establishment of the Presidential Task Force on Agriculture (PTFAg) and the mobilization of the more than 50% ($403M) of the funding needed for the Small-holder Commercialization Programme by the Minister and team give testament as to the extent of political will demonstrated in the present dispensation.
Thanks these exquisite trail of political will, Agriculture now accounts for nearly 50% of the country's GDP, employs close to 70% of the population of the country (with women at the helm of food production-60%) and generates up 30% of all export earnings for the country.