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Fragile State of Food Security in Sierra Leone after Ebola Outbreak

Fragile State of Food Security in Sierra Leone after Ebola Outbreak

FREETOWN, 27 October 2016– The State of Food Insecurity in Sierra Leone report launched today by the Government of Sierra Leone, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows more than half of the population – over 3.5 million people – are food insecure, without access to a sufficient amount of safe and nutritious food. Of these, about 600,000 are severely food insecure, eating significantly less food and less varied and nutritious food, and unable to cope with new shocks such as drought, floods and fluctuating food prices. The number of severely food insecure people has increased by 60 percent since 2010.

The report is the culmination of a Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis (CFSVA) of over 34,000 households across Sierra Leone’s 149 chiefdoms and 18 urban wards, making it the largest food security assessment of its kind in the country.

In his keynote speech at the launch ceremony, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), Professor Monty Jones, said the government was committed to doing what it takes to transform the agriculture sector into an engine for socio-economic growth.

“The findings of the CFSVA will assist my ministry to design, target and implement programmes that will improve agriculture production and productivity, enhance commercial agriculture, create employment and enhance skills of farmers in a number of areas. We will encourage private sector investment and involvement to improve access to inputs and markets for our farmers. The government and development partners have a key role in designing sound agricultural policies and programmes to effectively meet the priorities of the Government’s National Ebola Recovery Strategy,” he said.

The districts of Kailahun, Kambia, Port Loko, Pujehun, and Tonkolili have the highest levels of food insecurity. Levels of food insecurity at least doubled from the 2010 CFSVA in the districts of Bombali, Bonthe, Kailahun and Kenema.

Out of 149 chiefdoms and 18 urban wards surveyed, 110 chiefdoms had food insecurity levels above the national average of 50 percent.

While the Ebola outbreak accounted for the decline in food security in some districts, notably Kailahun and Kenema, in the majority of districts, food insecurity is a chronic problem, caused by structural factors that affect the food production system and limit the ability of households to produce or buy enough food.

“The results confirm that drivers of food insecurity are low agricultural productivity, poverty and a lack of resilience, poor road and market accessibility, gender inequality and a lack of income generation diversification. The negative socio-economic impacts of Ebola further exacerbated food insecurity. While the majority of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods, the report shows that only 4 percent are growing enough rice to meet their needs for the whole year, and rice production has decreased nationwide by 15 percent over the last five years,” said Nyabenyi Tipo, FAO Representative in Sierra Leone.

The analysis shows that on average, only 4 percent of farmers use chemical fertilizer, 10 percent have access to improved seed varieties, and 99 percent use manual tools. Very few households are engaged in fishing or livestock rearing. To sell or buy food, households in rural areas have to travel almost eight miles, or one and a half hours, to reach the nearest market.

“Sierra Leone now has unprecedented insight into its food security situation, with data available at the chiefdom level for the first time. This allows the humanitarian and development community to zero in on the most vulnerable, allowing us to use our resources more efficiently to improve food security, strengthen livelihoods and build resilience to recurrent shocks”, said Peter Scott-Bowden, WFP Country Director in Sierra Leone.

“With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the findings also provide accurate baseline data for government and development partners to gauge progress in achieving SDG 2 ending hunger,” he added.

WFP and FAO are supporting the Government of Sierra Leone to bridge the gap between local food production and national demand. The recommendations of the CFSVA underscore the urgent need for an increased investment in sustainable agriculture and rural livelihoods.

The 2015 CFSVA was financed by the African Development Bank, the European Union and the World Bank. Thirteen local and international NGOs provided technical assistance, in-kind and cash contributions to support the exercise.

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  • the opinion of the writer zuma-a lesson for ernest koroma!?…can’t be far away from the
    truth, and in fact there is more truth in it than true itself.

    for 98% of the folks in salone, and in free-town in particular the huge squalor, destitution, ignorance and disease that ravage folks in that slum city and the rest of the country is evidence of massive and untamed culture of rampant corruption and uncontrolled cronyism by ernest koroma who throughout his almost 10 year rule has brought the most morally undignified corrupt elements (people) to his government.

    ernest koroma is basically a cheap/FOOLISH THIEF with lots of ROTTEN GUTS IN HIM, who for one second CARE LESS what folks thinks about him. this man ernest koroma have no shame to bring into his government the most USELESS of all personalities to help him dismember the country bits by bits to pieces. and we have these totally blind salone folks
    saying here is a man that shows how he loves his country, REALLY!?…

    illustration to this basic fact ”want to know who the kind of your child is!?…just try looking at the kind of friends he hangs around with!?…” names just a few!,…vitorfoh vice president– this guy should belong in prison for huge corruption dating back to pupusiaka to present day useless ernestkoromas’ admin.

    jfkamara(LOL) attorney general this guy useless foolish unlearn(uneducated thug) here his half baked education if ever any and seen hopeless useless and corrupt now wanting and thinking of himself to becoming the ernest next president. isn’t that hopelessly fearful and despairing to that country and its future!???… the guy was raised into anti-corruption who did he brought to justice!? none!, because he can’t bring himself to justice if so he belongs in prison with his uncle too. guy hardly knows what the attorney general job’s entails. this ape looking man turns attorney general was another huge sign of how useless and hopelessly despairing ernest koroma is.

    paolo another unfit thug like his uncle can be any thing and a gate watcher. this paolo has been a drug dealer with all the huge drugs that is passing through salone this paolo
    have worked with most of ernest koromas’ first admin. this guy belongs to prison or worst.

    gemgo, patsowe, Silvio, etc., etc. all of these guy are totally unfit to administer in any dignified, responsible, honest and well intentional government that works, concern and to help improve the country. what a country that allows thugs become traders and finally responsible if at all the running of a day to day business of the country.

    are we blind and ignorance to this facts!!!???… all of ernestkoromas’ ministers are all but busy preparing for next coming election instead of working for the country they work only for themselves and party., that’s all. this apc party is basically very harmful and unpatriotic to the country and its folks.

    therefore salone will end up facing very difficult times to come in the future and ultimately ends up in total lawless and hopelessly corrupt like the awful days of pupusiaka and momoh before him. and this time we the people will be to blame for allowing ignorant thugs unlearn and undignified unashamed corrupt fools to leads us all
    to what will become of salone soon. we are in that despair right now!!!???…

    11/08/2016