Gift of rice seeds nurtures bonds of friendship

Publish time: 31st March, 2017      Source: China Daily
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China is to donate 6,300 metric tons of rice seed to Sierra Leone.


The move follows President Xi Jinping's promise to the people of Sierra Leone, made when he met the country's President Ernest Bai Koroma in December.


The donation was announced by Ambassador Wu Peng on March 21 to the country's Minister of Agriculture, Monty Jones.



Wu Peng, China's ambassador to Sierra Leone, shakes hands with Sierra Leone's Minister of Agriculture Monty Jones during the handing-over of seeds and chemicals. Provided to China Daily


The amount is equivalent to 126,000 50-kilogram bags.


The ambassador made this announcement during the official handing over of seeds and chemicals by the Chinese embassy to the Ministry of Agriculture, for the use of farmers within the Western Area.


Wu said: "I am very glad to hand over materials from the China-aid Agricultural Technical Cooperation Project. China has been carrying on agricultural and technical cooperation with Sierra Leone for more than 40 years. Since the 1970s, China has sent agricultural experts and set up cooperation sites in districts including Kambia, Bo and Makali."


He said Chinese experts are working together with local farmers, teaching them how to grow rice and vegetables. The farmers are receiving fertilizer and seeds, and the people of the communities are benefiting.


Wu said he was also glad to announce that China is working actively on training programs in the agricultural sector for Sierra Leone in which 60 participants will be sent to China on courses, including agricultural administration, rice planting and road beautification.


"Agriculture is fundamental to the economic development of a nation, and rice is a key focus of agriculture in China," he said. "We put a lot of importance on rice. I know for most Sierra Leoneans, not eating rice every day is like not eating."


He thanked the Chinese Agricultural Cooperation Team for its work, saying its members have boosted self-sufficiency in growing rice in the country.


Receiving the seeds and chemicals from Ambassador Wu on behalf of the farmers, Jones said he was very happy that China had responded to his country's call and sent nine experts to help in the agricultural sector.


He said they would test hybrid rice, corn and other crops with a view to achieving maximum yields in the future.


"Agriculture is No 1 in any country, and it has been responsible for the development of all the developed countries," Jones said. "We are pushing toward feeding ourselves and we hope we will achieve it soon as we intend to go into large-scale farming, with Chinese investors, of rice, onions, cassava and sweet potatoes."


Rice, corn seed, fertilizers and agricultural chemicals were handed over.


Farmers present at the ceremony thanked the Chinese government and people for their support.


They said that with the training received from Chinese experts, they are seeing a great difference in farming output, through which they can raise funds to look after their families and pay school fees.