In his statement, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, WAAPP, Kepri Lakkoh, noted that the reason for WAAPP bringing the parboiling machines is to introduce improved technologies to farmers that will help them increase their productivity and help them put more monies in their pockets.
He said the procurement of the parboilers is the result of a value chain study undertaken by WAAPP to see how post-harvest losses could be minimized and value added to rice produced by farmers.
The study, Lakkoh stated, discovered gaps that led to huge post-harvest losses, therefore WAAPP thought it fit to introduce the improved parboilers fabricated in Guinea to address the challenges posed by post-harvest losses.
The ten units of parboilers, he added, will be distributed to selected Agricultural Business Centers (ABCs), farmers cooperatives, SLARI, RARC, etc, These groups will test the efficiency of the parboilers over a period of time and WAAPP together with the Ministry of Agriculture will do a follow-up to see where modifications may be required.
The gender focal point for WAAPP at the Gender Ministry, Goody Sowoony recalled that she had been advocating through WAAPP for gender friendly machines so that women too could increase their output in agriculture, adding that women bear the brunt of the work in the farms and welcomed the improved parboilers as a result of her advocacy. She also encouraged the women to be hard working while assuring them that her ministry will continue to work towards improving the lot of women in the country.
The District Agricultural Officer (DAO), Umaru Sankoh, in his remarks, pointed to the fact that women have been the pivot for agricultural promotion and growth in the Kambia district. He informed the gathering that there is currently a huge task for women in the district as they have been contracted by WFP to supply over two thousand bags of rice and black eye beans.
The DAO noted that women have the task of producing and processing this rice before supplying to WFP which makes the coming of the parboiling units timely.
President of the Sierra Leone Women’s Farmers Forum (SLeWOF), Josephine Oya Sankoh commended WAAPP for standing out as one of the projects that hs always been helping women in the country, disclosing that 75% of women carry out the activities of farming, thus WAAPP’s continued support to them should be highly applauded. The improved parboiler units, she went on, are gender friendly, utilize less fuel (wood), takes less time in parboiling and can be easily handled by women. She thanked WAAPP for the innovation.
WAAPP is a ten year two phased project that is funded by the government of Sierra Leone, the World Bank and the government of Japan.