When Professor Patrick Monty Jones (pictured), Sierra Leone’s Minister of Agriculture was appointed last February, many Sierra Leoneans pinned a lot of hope in him to transform Agriculture in Sierra Leone, a land with plentiful rain and excellent soil that still imports most of its food from elsewhere.Monty is a well known agriculturist with a wealth of experience as a researcher and plant breeder. His most famous achievement was when he led a team of researchers to produce the high-yielding hybrid rice NERICA (New Rice for Africa), which is a combination of African and Asian rice.Now a political administrator, Monty has been meeting with traditional rulers and civil servants in the rural areas where most of the country’s farmers are found. The purpose is to involve them in the various projects of the Ministry geared towards the production of most of what the country eats (rice, onions, etc) and thereby save foreign exchange for other purposes.

Another objective of his is to help create employment for young people in the countryside many of whom, with very little formal education and out of frustration and despair, have migrated to urban areas where they could find employment, forcing them into anti-social activities and drug abuse.Sierra Leone used to be an exporter of rice and other food items in the past and it seems like Professor Monty Jones, who used to work at the Rokupr Rice research station in northern Sierra Leone is just the right man to bring back those days.It’s perhaps too early to expect bumper rice harvests all over the country when farmers start harvesting their rice between November and December this year. But at the rate Monty is moving, many Sierra Leoneans are expecting the country to be flooded by rice, onions and other commodities by December next year.Here is Professor Monty Jones in an interview with F2A: