Sierra Leone News: Persons with disabilities engage in agri-business

As a way of empowering themselves to become self-reliant, people with disabilities have turned their attention to agribusiness, which they believe is the best option in changing their current livelihood status.
It no secret that the streets of Freetown are flooded with disabled people who rely on begging for their daily survival.
Deviating from this practice to a more commercial and sustainable one that will keep them in business and improve their income while contributing to nation building, persons with disabilities decided to embark on agribusiness in 2016.
According to the Admin and Finance Manager, of the Persons with Disabilities in Agribusiness Association, Anthony U, Kanu, their Association consists of different categories of disabilities.
He disclosed that they are presently involved in the production of crops like rice, cassava and pepper, fishponds as well as rearing life stock such as goats, sheep and poultry.
“We are not only limited to production but also engage in processing, packaging and distribution to customers,” he recalled. They are presently trying to position some of their colleagues on wheelchairs at strategic points so that the public will get access to their products. The products will be labelled, “Persons with Disabilities Product”.
Their farm is in a village called Margbaikoli, via Makorth Junction along the Makeni Freetown highway. Currently, they are cultivating 100 acres of rice and have 12 acres of cassava that is awaiting harvest.
They have a membership of 50, who normally contribute monies to meet their target and after harvesting and processing their production and sales the income they save in their account, they will use for education, health and business investments.
He furthered that funding is their biggest challenge as they intend to involve their colleagues who are still on the Street begging. They also want to expand the project to other districts so that their colleagues will not feel left out.
According to the Program Director of the Association, Abdul Rahman Sankoh, they received six bushels of seed rice from the Minister of Agriculture and two from the Presidential Youth Aide as support towards their initiative.
Their main focus is to get their colleagues off the streets so they will be respected and contribute to the nation.
By Alhaji M. Kamara
Awoko, Tuesday July 25, 2017.

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