The Oasis Reporters
March 9, 2021
By Greg Abolo
Those who have a fairly good understanding of West African history would easily tell you that commercial growing of rice is big in Sierra Leone. That was in the past. Rice grains remain a staple diet in the English speaking West African nation that have, asides the indigenous tribes of Temne, Madinka, Mende etc, there’s a huge sprinkling of descendants of freed slaves rescued from slave ships and resettled in the country. Those citizens are called Creoles. Their language is akin to the Niger Delta variety of pidgin English.
History records it that citizens of the country have often been taken to countries like the US to do what they know how to do best, grow rice and teach other growers how to grow rice efficiently.
But times have changed. Sierra Leone has passed through several phases as a nation. From multi party democracy under Siaka Stevens to one party rule under the same man, to insurrection, pretended democracy, a brutal civil war, which was a cover for a bloody diamond war, fuelled by war lord Charles Taylor of Liberia which destabilized the West African sub region, and Nigeria’s General Babangida had to back a Nigerian led West African Peace Keeping Force, called ECOMOG.
As citizens of Sierra Leone died like flies while many fled the “rebel war” as they called, the country lost pride and dignity.
They beg for food, pretty much, like the street kids of northern Nigeria, called Almajiri (almajirai – plural).
Peace has long since returned to Sierra Leone, no doubt. Charles Taylor is now in prison, having been jailed by the International Court of Justice. His acolyte in Sierra Leone, Corporal Foday Sankor has died, many have been jailed and the country has lost so much.
Yet as they rebuild their country back, they seemed to have lost the will and zeal to grow their own food. Yet the fertile land remains.
Now see who is feeding itself comfortably, and donating free rice to Sierra Leone.
PRESS RELEASE— Min of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation (@MFAIC_SL) March 3, 2021
India to Provide 1000 Metric Tons of Rice in food aid to the Government and People of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
This donation was disclosed during the handing over of a consignment of medicines to the Ministry of Health.
India in the distant past once had starving people. They’ve moved from an overpopulation problem to a prosperous nuclear power. India has sent an indigenously built space craft that went to Mars. First attempt, yet successful. On a low budget.
Under the atmosphere of Covid-19 pandemic, India now has it’s own vaccine, made in India.
Sierra Leone had Ebola virus, they still struggle with infrastructural deficits to even ensure that they fight the various issues confronting them.
This was the Press Release that was akin to, Quo Vadis, Sierra Leone?
“India to Provide 1000 Metric Tons of Rice in food aid to the Government and People of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
This donation was disclosed during the handing over of a consignment of medicines to the Ministry of Health”.
Barely 9 months ago in July 2020, Sierra Leone received a consignment of free rice from Japan, an earthquake prone country that has no land to grow rice. Japan buys rice from the market and donates to countries like Sierra Leone with rolling fertile lands.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hands over Japanese Food Aid (Rice) to Ministry of Basic Education.— Min of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation (@MFAIC_SL) July 7, 2020
When will the giant in West Africa, from Sierra Leone to Ghana, the Gambia and Nigeria rise up?
The region is still at the mercy of herding cattle, the 17th way, relying on donor nations to feed.
What an amazing shame.