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  • Grafton farmers to plant cashew trees

    Nov 6th, 2017

    Human activities cause the most harm to the environment… from fossil fuel air pollution to garbage and sewage in the ocean. The cutting down of trees and burning of forest resources are just two of the activities that are affecting the environment and encouraging climate change. There’s always a fine line between benefits to society and harm to the environment.

    Certainly, farming falls somewhere along that line. Farming is crucial to the sustenance of a society, community and a family. But, it can also have a negative effect on the environment. Marie Bangura has been farming her whole life. She’s also the Chair of the United Farmers Association in the Grafton area. She said, “The western rural area has changed a lot. Land has been lost to building. Roads have been constructed across farms. Water has been re-directed because of development. We farmers cannot keep up and we have suffered because of these changes.”

    Chief Pa Adekalie Thullah, of the Babaline community near Grafton added, “The farmers plant and harvest cassava, potato leaf and some rice. They are seasonal crops and are mainly small farms for families or a few community people.” He noted the importance of farms and food production to the nation.The Ministry of Agriculture has been actively involved in supporting farmers and encouraging rice and potato production. Rice is a staple food in Sierra Leone and a large percentage of the rice eaten is imported. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, this must change. There is no reason that Sierra Leone farmers can’t produce the rice that Sierra Leoneans eat every day.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken an interest in farming as an environmental issue. On Friday 3 November 2017, EPA gave Bangura’s group, United Farmers Association, 300 cashew tree seedlings and a selection of farming tools in a pilot phase of farm support and environmental protection.Senior Environmental Officer at EPA, Lovetta Johana, said, “We are supporting communities and women’s groups to help preserve and protect the environment.She added they are also helping women in Kenema, Kailahun and Tonkolili. The Communication Officer at EPA, Fatmata Bakarr-Sesay, said, “The cutting down of trees is leading to water shortages. Cashew trees are economical trees and after two years they will start to reap the economic benefits.