Facing the continued rise in the costs of staple foodstuff, we decided there was a need to expand our farming activities. Hence the recent acquisition in Wanjama, Lei chiefdom – about 19 miles from Koidu, of over 150 acres of prime forest and bole land. This land was gifted to us in large part from my late mother’s side. Tankoro chiefdom, where my late dad hailed from, hosts a lot of mining activities, stiff competition for land and encroachment from large urban settlements for effective large scale farming.
Food prices in Sierra Leone will continue to rise exponentially. Its vital that those of us who have the will engage in such activity inorder to help ease price increments within our vicinity. It’s also important we try to secure our heritage land as big business from abroad has commenced the purchase of thousands of hectares for largely cash crop as opposed to Food crop production.
On the 14th we commenced clearing of the 40 acre bole land section of the farm land. To achieve this we’re using a chemical spray that will kill off the electric and elephant grass. Clearing is necessary to enable the ministry of agriculture field workers to peg out the 20 acre site we have reserved for the transfer and replanting of an initial number of 1,000 cashew seedlings (see below picture of seedlings at min of agric nursery site, Koidu awaiting transport to Wanjama). It will also enable our workers to prepare the land for planting of food crop – yam, plantain, sweet potato, lettuce, cabbage, carrot, aubergine, pepper, onions etc. In addition to serving our dependents food requirements, most of the harvest will be trucked down to the market towns or sold off in bulk within the year to earn quick income for Ahkom activities. Seeds from Hillary will be planted here and at the school farm site near Koidu to determine where they do best. The school farm near koidu remains our proposed experimental site. Going forward, it will provide invaluable practical experience not only for our pupils, but pupils from other schools.
Tied to the back of the motorbike in the picture is a carton of with 12 containers of chemical. Mixed with water each container can spray just over 1 acre. We’ll be needing around 4 more cartons each costing £100.
The 90+ acres of forest is home to monkeys and deer. Our plan is to gradually encircle that locality using traditional methods of planting thorn bush in thick formation augmenting with barbed wire subject to finances. Because goat and sheep can subsist alongside deer and monkeys, we’ll introduce the former within the proposed enclosure where they can roam free and thrive.
Among the pictures you’ll see a newly constructed board bridge. It leads to the site and has provided an immediate benefit for local school children, men and women going to their farm. Before they had to wade through the water, a dangerous exercise for little kids when the river rises and flows fast during the rains.
I close by happily modifying the well known ditty “Oh I do love to be beside the seaside” with my very own “Oh I do love to be beside the bush!”
Regards and God bless.