Map of Sierra Leone

Agriculture and Food Security

Speeches Shim

USAID is working to help transform fish-farming into income earning business for small scale farmers in Sierra Leone.
USAID is working to help transform fish-farming into income earning business for small scale farmers in Sierra Leone.

USAID supports integrated agriculture-aquaculture systems and rice value chain programs to increase private sector investment in agriculture, raise farm household incomes, and improve nutritional status. In addition to supporting activities to improve food access for vulnerable households and communities recovering from the shock of Ebola, USAID also supports: community-based savings and loans schemes, linking farmers to microfinance institutions, providing innovative grants to small and medium sized enterprises, strengthening linkages between farmers and markets, and providing business training to producer associations. Women and youth are both beneficiaries and partners in these interventions.

Agriculture (including forestry and fisheries) is the mainstay of the Sierra Leonean economy employing over 60 percent of the labor force mostly at the subsistence level. Rice and cassava are staple foods of the country, while cocoa, coffee, oil palm, and cashew nuts are the major cash crops. The agricultural sector is constrained by several factors including lack of improved inputs, labor shortages, and post-harvest losses. Land degradation and deforestation have resulted in declining soil fertility, which in turn has undermined sustainable agricultural development in the country.

Through the Securing Water for Food (SWFF) Program, USAID awarded a Global Development Alliance (GDA) with SKYFOX Ltd, a private sector firm based in Ghana, to establish a robust aquaculture enterprise in Sierra Leone (among other countries in West Africa). SWFF employs an integrated aquaculture/crop production model to create opportunities for small farmers to participate in this life-changing and lucrative value chain. The purpose of the partnership between SkyFox Ltd and USAID is to build on the existing strengths developed by the Feed the Future Sierra Leone Scaling up Aquaculture Production (SAP) project funded by USAID by assisting on Nile tilapia broodstock development, breeding and fingerling production program, and fish feed production, and to develop a catfish breeding program to ensure continuity and sustainability of USAID investments in the aquaculture sector in Sierra Leone.