EPA-SL Executive Chairman donates Agricultural Tools to Rural Women’s Groups

The Executive Chairman of the Environment Protection Agency – Sierra Leone, Prof. Foday Moriba Jaward has donated assorted agricultural equipment and seeds worth millions of leones as alternative livelihood support to agricultural women‟s and youth groups in Moymaba, Bo and Kailahun districts that are purely engaged in eco-friendly farming. The objective of the donations was to encourage farmers to embark on what is known as „Climate Smart Agriculture‟ and to help change their mindset on traditional modes of agriculture which, over the years, have accounted for the destruction of a substantial portion of Sierra Leone‟s forest cover. The move was also intended to encourage other agricultural women‟s groups to engage in Inland Valley Swamp (IVS) farming which would in turn ensure a reduction in the clearing of forests for agricultural purposes. Invariably, some of the traditional roles of women in rural areas require them to engage in series of
practices like growing of crops, cutting down of trees for charcoal production and fuel wood, all of which contribute to deforestation and have a negative effect on environmental protection. It is believed that for several years, Sierra Leone‟s beautiful landscape has been left at the mercy of crude farming methods as a result of which vast areas of its forest cover have been depleted. Professor Jaward noted that the donations will help to motivate others who are engaged in traditional livelihood activities such as „slash and burn‟ agriculture, setting of bushfires, charcoal production and other activities detrimental to the environment to change course and engage in more environmentally friendly activities. Handing over the items, Prof. Jaward commended the people of Mano Dasse Chiefdom in the Moyamba district, Bo and Jojoima in the Malema Chiefdom, Kailahun districts for banning charcoal production and engaging in eco-friendly farming activities in their respective communities. He noted that the people of Mano Dasse Chiefdom in the Moyamba District were the first to place a ban on the cutting down of trees for charcoal production. He encouraged other groups to emulate such good examples adding deforestation was a major factor for the increase in climate change and global warming and that the EPA was working hard to ensure that the battle against deforestation in Sierra Leone is conquered. He further informed the people that the battle against deforestation was one such way that the people can support President Bio‟s vision for environmental sustainability. He therefore called on them to refrain from practices that pose a threat to the environment. The Deputy Director of Field Operations and Extension, Mr. Lamin Opie Tarawalie commended the
people for their commitment to environmental safety and admonished them to make good use of the opportunity presented to them by Prof. Jaward. Responding to the donations, the Local Authorities including the Speaker of Mano Dasse Chiefdom, Moyamba District, the Paramont Chief of Malema Chiefdom, Kailahun district and heads of women‟s groups in the said chiefdoms commended Prof. Jaward for his support and promised to do more to work with EPA in upholding the requisite environmental standards to combat deforestation in their respective communities. Since he took over as Executive Chairman of the EPA-SL, Prof. Jaward has placed premium on afforestation as a way of restoring the integrity of the country‟s environment.

Women during the occasion