By Lansana Fofanah.
The historic Bonthe Island in Bonthe District is all set to host the 2018 Agro-Tourism exhibition from the 21st to the 24th December; an event to be hosted there for the first time in Sierra Leone’s history.
The Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and Ministry of Trade are all involved in making sure that the event lives up to its expectations.
Assessing early preparations on the ground, the Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Ndanema said that the event in Bonthe is about showcasing to the world the rich touristic potential of the Island which for so long has been neglected.
“Everything about agriculture, has to do with Culture and after this year’s event, the long stereotype against the Island will change as the people are ready to give the best in terms of cultural display. People are willing to give up their private homes just to accommodate those that will be coming as His Excellency the President Julius Maada Bio has made it clear that over one thousand people will be attending the event in Bonthe “, the Minister said.
The Minister said that Bonthe and Kabala have been chosen for this year’s celebration and the event in Kabala will take place from the 29th to the 31st December.
On the issue of transportation, the Minister assured that over twenty five powered engine boats will be available during the event and a ferry service will also be ready to take tourists to the various islands and relics center.
A member of the Agro Tourism Committee and a pioneer of the event, Elizabeth Ahmed Conteh said that Bonthe District possesses the only Turmabum rice center where production used to exceed local consumption and the remainder exported. The best beaches and historical islands in West Africa and the best place to have sea food, coconut oil, fish oil and many more.
“The headquarters of Paterson Zochonis (PZ) and lots of French companies were in Bonthe. During the Second World War, Queen Elizabeth came and sought refuge here where we have today the Church of England. But much hasn’t been done to tell the world the true picture of Bonthe and the history of monuments and relics in Sierra Leone will never be complete without mentioning Bonthe districts and its prestigious islands. The eleven Paramount Chiefs and their chiefdom people will be displaying different varieties of produce from their chiefdoms which will be coupled with local boat race”, she said.
Agatha Blake; a Bontanian described the would be event as a rebirth of Bonthe as 2018 brought them the Presidency, Ministers, Miss Sierra Leone Award and the hosting of the biggest Agro-Tourism exhibition ever.
A member of the Planning Committee, Mohamed Barrie said that a five acre well-fenced area will be decorated with booths to host families and guests.
“After this event, sweet memories of Bonthe will forever be remembered by the tourists”, he said.