By Mafugi Ceesay
The National Assembly Member for Jimara, Alhagie Sowe, yesterday grilled the agriculture minister over a milling machine given to his constituency but currently parked at President Adama Barrow’s village.
The lawmaker challenged the minister to explain the criteria used to select Mangkamang Kunda as station for the machine.
In reaction, Minister Amie Fabureh said: “The selection of Mangkamang Kunda as a beneficiary to a milling machine was based on a need assessment in consultation with the agricultural regional directorate of URR. Secondly, there is a mixed-farming centre at Mangkamang Kunda used as a learning hub for farmers and extension workers in the region.”
Minister Fabureh disclosed that the Mangkamang Kunda mixed-farming centre was established in the 1960s as a learning centre for farmers.
“The machine was handed to the alkalo because work was still going at the centre. But immediately after the work is done, we will reposition the machine at the mixed-farming centre. We cannot deny other farmers in the area from having access to the farming centre or the machine. Mangkamang is a service centre and has catchment areas. The equipment is not for Mangkamang but the whole region,” she said.
The NAM for Illiassa, Dembo Camara jumped to the defence of the minister, arguing that there was nothing wrong with government giving a milling machine to Mangkamang Kunda.
The agriculture minister further disclosed tractors, power tillers, milling machines, thresher and reaper were handed to the communities of Sotuma Samba, Mamasutu and Kosemar.
“There is also construction of an access road of 4.5km and half-a-kilometre for Sotuma Samba and Mamasutu by the Agriculture Value Chain Development Project. My ministry also distributed power tillers, rice milling machines, ground seeds and fertilisers to the communities of Sotuma Siray and Gambisara,” she added.
She assured the members that the dysfunctional mixed farming centre at Kiang Kwinella will soon be operational and that under her tenure, she will endeavor to provide a milling machine for each village in the country.