Agriculture remains a priority in the Agenda for Prosperity, and FAO’s contribution is still expected. Under the agriculture sector, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security is leading other key ministries in the formulation of the Inclusive and Comprehensive Agriculture Development Programme (ICADEP), a successor programme to the Smallholder Commercialization Programme (SCP). The goal is to create decent employment, increased and diversified incomes for rural and fisheries population.
The ICADEP will promote pro-poor agricultural growth and food security through better governance and private sector development in agriculture and fisheries. FAO is actively involved in the formulation process and will be a key partner in the implementation of the ICADEP. All the priority areas under ICADEP are relevant and in line with FAO’s mandate in the country.
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.
Sierra Leone is located in West Africa, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, Guinea in the north and northeast and Liberia in the east and southeast, and covers a land area of 71 740 Km. The country’s population is estimated at above seven million (2015) with 42 percent changes from 2004 (4,976,871).
About 65 % of the population are estimated to live in rural areas. Sierra Leone’s land area amounts to 7.22 million ha and about 5.4 million ha, or 74 percent of the total land area, is considered suitable for cultivation, although almost 80% of farmers cultivate less than 10% of that land (this could be attributed to many factors, e.g. poor governance of land tenure).
It is estimated that agriculture is providing employment for around 65% of the country’s labour force and about 75 percent of the population (with women as the predominant labour force). The national policy framework has changed from the Agenda for Change (2009 – 2013) to new country strategy paper, the “Agenda for Prosperity” (2013-2018). Under this agenda, Sierra Leone’s government seeks to build a stable economy, founded on private sector-led growth, and diversified across several competitive sectors, with the longer term goal of being a middle income country by 2030.