Agricultural development is two to four times more effective at reducing hunger and poverty than any other sector (World Bank, 2017). Analyses show that the sector employs over 70% of the population who live mainly in the rural areas while non farmers spend most of their income on food. Thus, transforming the sector is crucial to economic growth, job creation, raised incomes and reduced malnutrition (Mckinsey, 2017).
In Sierra Leone, agriculture accounts for over 50% of the national gross domestic product (GDP), but is still largely at subsistence levels. According to the 2014 Agriculture sector review, Sierra Leone is currently a net importer of the nation’s key agricultural commodities such as rice, wheat and onions, with an estimated $267M being spent on imports (Agriculture Sector Review, 2014).
The sector is generally marked by low quality agricultural inputs, and insufficient training of farmers and actors along the agricultural value chains; and despite improvements in the last couple of years, significant pockets of food insecurity remain in parts of the country with about 12,000 people still in need of food assistance (FAO, 2018).
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