Sallieu Sorie Bassie Turay is redefining the taboo that has been attributed to farming by young people like him in his country. The computer engineer and IT enthusiast have inspired many of his peers after setting up a mega farm outlet called Lilly’s Agricultural Farm. Beginning with just an acre, he has been able to grow various crops and rear different types of animals for commercial purposes. An achievement worth applauding.
Sallieu Bassie Turay was born and raised in the country’s capital, Freetown, in the famous neighbourhood of Tengbeh town. He did his secondary education at the Albert Academy Secondary School and furthered his university education at Bluecrest College for a course in Software Engineering. Eventually, he got a scholarship to China to study Computer Science. The experience plus the time he invested added a bonus to his qualifications after he became a certified computer engineer.
The chronicle of Turay’s inspiration and motivation to venture into agriculture began in 2016 after his first visit to China. He observed how ambitious the Chinese people were in toiling the ground and accumulating bounty harvests to independently feed themselves. The African Dream met with Sallieu to discuss the drive behind his ambition to pursue agriculture. He revealed, “I had my inspiration and motivation in 2016 when I first went to China. Truth be told when I saw Chinese people love and embrace agriculture, I said; I’m sure if only we embrace agriculture, we could solve half of our continental problems and tackle bigger ones, I asked again; Are these people special or is it just hard work? Since then, I’ve been restless and curious to know more and I promise my best that I won’t only restrict my profession as a computer engineer, but I’ll be a farmer when I returned home.”
LILLY’S AGRICULTURAL FARM
At the northern axis of Lungi, Madina, you can locate Sallieu’s pristine and organic farmyard seated on a medium-sized farmyard. Judging by the vast amount of foliage and poultry feed needed to feed the animals and the machines to till the soil, one can tell that this was not an easy thing to do since its inception. The agripreneur began, “This was not an easy one. That I can’t lie. I worked very hard, working on contracts on my I.T. job, and working as a part-time worker. Whilst I was working, I did a lot of research about the different areas of farming… It wasn’t an easy one, it was tough to pass that stage, imagine somebody that do not have any agricultural knowledge or background. Throughout my studies was IT.”
To start this tumultuous drive, it is important to note that Turay did a lot of jobs to raise the money to start the farm with the help of his dad who brought up the idea. The farm was named after his grandma.
Lilly’s Agricultural Farm began operating on February 2022 after Sallieu’s trip from Liberia where he was working on a contract. The farm has a plantation where beans, onions, tomatoes, pepper, lettuce, cucumber, sweet potatoes and cassava, are extensively grown. In addition, the farmhouse is home to fowl and other ruminants. “This is the part I’ve been facing heavy constraints in terms of working on the farm. I’ve plenty of animals I’m taking care of, at first when I started without a helping hand in terms of people working alongside me, every day, I mean every blessed day, twice a day, I would wake up every day at 6 in the morning to fetch fresh grass for the animals to eat, in the drying season, sometimes I would walk miles and miles to have at least 5 bags of grass for the cows, goat and sheep’s to feed on, and in the evening as well, I’ll repeat the same.” Sallieu added, “Working with 1-day-old chicks for the very first time in my life, without no help, no experience, that was the scariest part of my life I’ve ever faced. Just imagine taking care of 500 pullets layers chicks for the first time and the amount of money to purchase them, I almost went a month without sleeping, sometimes I can even be sleeping inside the poultry just to make sure the young chicks are okay, u have to make sure they eat well, they drink clean and purified water and sleeping on a warm place everyday… And talking about their food and medication, it is so expensive.”
Every startup suffers a setback and faces loopholes, and Lilly’s Agric Farm is not an exception. It could be a daunting task both physically and mentally. Speaking on his challenges, Sallieu lamented, “I’ve been financially depressed, I’ve been restless, I’ve been sleepless, I was overworking myself for the past year. Giving up your dream for another thing is the toughest decision I’ve ever made in my life, but it is worth it.” He, however, expressed optimism and sheer motivation to sail through these hurdles. “The decision I took when I was in China, the motivation and passion that came inside of me, was the biggest contributor to reaching this far. And secondly, my dad, that man is a blessing and a gem in this journey, financially and mentally, he is there for me.”
Prospects like Sallieu Turay plan on making it big in the country’s food-producing sector in the next five years. He said, “The goal is to own a citrus factory that produces juice, liquid and dust like other countries and sell in my country cheaper and to export, and to employ as many youths as I can, secondly I want to have the largest poultry in the country and largest producer of egg and chicken. I want to achieve what the Chinese have achieved in farming. Food sufficiency.”
If only one-third of Africa’s youthful population can embrace agriculture, we will fight half of our daily problems… One of the maiN PROBLEMS in Africa is hunger. we lack food, and once we lack food, that IS the gate for hunger, and once we’re hungry, we can make bad DECISIONS, because an hungry man can’t think straight, and once we can’t think straight and WELL-CALCULATED, there comes in corruption.
Sallieu Bassie’s word of wisdom to the african youth
You can follow Lilly’s Agricultural Farm on Facebook via this link: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100091863968280