The newly appointed Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food security, Prof Monty Patrick Jones has said that government spent US$165m on imported rice and US$15M to import vegetable oil.
He made this statement when going through interviews on the 11 January 2016 at Committee Room No 1, Parliament Building
He explained that he will engage the youths to do farming instead of roaming about the streets.
When the Deputy Majority Leader of parliament, Hon Leonard Fofanah asked Prof. Jones that he is also known for nerica rice, the nominee responded in the affirmative, adding that nerica has served as globally agricultural rice in nine regions and if approved by parliament he would try to improve agriculture activity in Sierra Leone.
He said that he would be looking at machineries for agricultural purpose that are not only limited to tractors.
He further stated that other countries have done well to improve it productivity and that low lands have not been exploited in Sierra Leone.
He said that he will also encourage commercial agriculture in Sierra Leone so they can contribute to the national development growth.
He added he will be looking at several developments and will open Agricultural Business Centers (ABCs) that will be functional.
Hon Dr Bernadette Lahai asked whether they are rice sufficient in Sierra Leone, because according to her one of the participants at the press review said they are not applying research on technology on their agricultural products because the late president Kabbah launched the cassava processing in 2007 and they have not heard about it since then.
Prof Jones replied that Sierra Leone is not self sufficient.
The chairman of the appointment committee, Hon Ibrahim Bundu said to remove farming from the table of the offices to the farm.
Hon Veronica K Sesay told the nominee that there are other areas which he needs to put efforts on such as animal husbandry and others.
The nominee said agriculture should be conducted in every corner in this country and that they need to add value in producing milk from their cattle like Kenya has started producing milk and sells it to Europe.
Hon PC Victor Kebbie asked if he is the chairman of national federation of farmers.
The nominee said farmers are his friend and that they need to make farmers business people
He said when approved he will meet with the federation.
Other Presidential Nominees interviewed were: Justice A Charm, proposed Chief Justice, Justice, Isata Kabia, Proposed Minister of State 1 in the Ministry of Foreign Affair, Dr. Mohamed Gibirl Sisay, Proposed Minister of State 2 in the Ministry of Foreign Affair and 5 others