Food insecurity in Sierra Leone Overcoming the Challenges in Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Koroma, Bashiru Mohamed
MetadataShow full item record
Sierra Leone has an area of about 73)326 km2 and a population estimated in mid-2000 at 5.29 million." The economy is dominated by agriculture and mining. In the 1990s about 47 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) was generated by agriculture, while mining contributed 13.7 per cent, making a total of approximately 61 per cent for both sectors." Official statistics however, are notoriously poor, and may not accurately portray the realities relating to development. Agriculture has remained traditional and subsistence in character, incapable of satisfying the food requirements of the nation by a wide margin, and of improving the living standards of the broad mass of people (some 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the population) who are employed in this sector. In the eastern and southeastern parts of the country where export crops of coffee and cocoa are grown, income levels and productivity were much higher than average prior to civil conflict. which started in March 199 I.J} It is in the food¬crop subsector that poverty is pervasive, and without any policy change aimed at ending food insecurity the country will not break away from its present disproportionate state of poverty and deprivation. In September 1990, when the second UN Conference on the least developed countries (LDCs) was convened in Paris, the state of Sierra Leone was at peace. But the peace was foreshadowed by economic and sociopolitical debacles that bore all the hallmarks of degeneracy and public disenchantment for the inextricable lack of social and economic opportunities in the better parts of the 1980s and 1990s. PercapitaGDP, which was US$363 in 1980, had declined to US$190 by 1990. This culminated in an appalling decline in food production and productivity between 1982 and 1990, and national food production fell below the average for Africa after 1984.