By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya
Situated along the western Rural District is the Tombo Community. It is a predominantly fishing Community with women and men engaged in this lucrative enterprise. They catch fish and sell at the market to be able to make ends meet and cater for their children’s schooling. While the newly constructed market is standing by and apparently waiting for formal handing over ceremony, most of the women here sell their fish in the open.
Like the women and other Community people, the Head Man of Community, Mohamed Mansaray is not happy for the fact that the market is yet to be handed over to them. He said in handing over the newly constructed market under the Rural-Private Sector Development Program to the community people is posing a serious challenge to fish mongers and the entire Community.
According to Mohamed Mansaray, the Traders in the Community who are mostly fish- mongers are in dire need of the facility that has been standing and can’t be used because it has not been officially commissioned and handed over to them.
Reflecting back how they were coping in the Community, the Tombo Headman said before the Construction of the new market by the Rural-Private Sector Development program, traders were using the floor to place their wares which was very unhealthy and the reason why they contributed man power and supported for the construction of the Market. He noted that they are very much surprised that over seven months since the project was completed it has not been handed over to the beneficiaries.
The Rural and Private Sector Development Program (RPSDP) is a Government of Sierra Leone project under the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security and was funded by the World Bank. With a domestic market improvement component, the project key objective is to increase production of selected agricultural commodities by twenty percent and sales by ten percent through improvements in efficiencies along the value chain for targeted beneficiaries.
The Chairlady of the Tombo Community, Madam Isatu Sesay said the construction of the new market has opened the community to not only local markets but traders from the neighboring countries such as Guinea and Liberia and further reiterated the need for the market to be formally opened and handed over to them. She commended the Government of Sierra Leone and the Rural-Private Sector Development Project for their support to the Community.
Former Community headman and now the Chairman of the Tombo Fish Traders Association, Alie Japan Bangura Chairman said the Fish processing area and stores which are parts of the facilities provided by the Rural-Private Sector Development project is helping them to be able to add value to their business and its sustainability is very important and key to them.
Tombo a Predominantly fishing community in the outskirt of Freetown with a population of a little over sixteen thousand people is amongst the many beneficiaries of the Rural-Private Sector Development Project under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and the Ministry of Trade and Industry supported by the World Bank Group.