Most of Sierra Leone’s arable lowlands, especially inland valley swamps are capable of double cropping - growing two crops on the same piece of land during a single growing season.
As part of the President’s Recovery Priorities, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Security (MAFFS) has recently finished distributing rice seed and fertiliser for the first cropping. Nationally about 52,000 bushels have been distributed in total, targeting 50,000 farming families.
Currently Sierra Leone’s farms have an average yield of one tonne per hectare. With the aim of increasing the productivity and quality of the yield to an average of two tonnes, MAFFS is encouraging the use of fertiliser and an improved rice seed variety.
Improving farming skills by providing training in important husbandry practices, such as fertiliser use, weeding, bird scaring and improved planting techniques – will also help Sierra Leone’s farmers boost the productivity of their farms.
Harvesting of the first crop is due to take place in October. This will give MAFFS and Sierra Leone’s farmers the opportunity to begin assessing the success of strategies to increase the harvest, while preparations for the second cropping are taking place.