Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Report
Title Food and nutrition security in Sierra Leone with a focus on fish in Tonkolili District
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://pubs.iclarm.net/resource_centre/2016-23.pdf
Abstract
Sierra Leone, located on the west coast of Africa, has a population of 6.3 million, with an annual growth rate
of 2.2%. With a Human Development Index of 0.413, Sierra Leone’s level of development is below the average
for countries in the low human development group, as well as below the average for countries in sub-Saharan
Africa. Although the country has substantial natural resources and is committed to attaining middle-income
status, the institutional damage caused by the 10-year civil war and the Ebola virus disease outbreak in 2014
have constrained social and economic development.
Food insecurity and malnutrition are national concerns, as almost a quarter of the population is undernourished.
Poor food availability, access and utilization contribute to undernourishment. The subsistence nature of the
agricultural sector, poor dietary diversity and seasonal periods of hunger impact the food security and nutritional
status of the population. Recognizing the need to improve food and nutrition security in the country, the
Government of Sierra Leone joined the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement in 2012 to better coordinate
multisectoral nutrition interventions. A multisectoral coordination group commenced the development of the
2013–2017 National Food and Nutrition Security Implementation Plan to design and operationalize efforts to
scale up nutrition strategies.
Fish is an important part of the Sierra Leonean diet, so increasing fish production—and thus its availability and
consumption—may help reduce malnutrition. Fish contains a significant quantity of micronutrients, essential
fatty acids and animal protein and is a valuable food to improve diets that lack essential vitamins and minerals.
The consumption of fish is particularly important during the first 1000 days of life (from the onset of pregnancy
to a child’s second birthday), as the fatty acids it provides promote optimal brain and neurological development.
The fisheries sector, which is composed of artisanal, inland and industrial fishing, has significant growth potential
in Sierra Leone. Growth in the fisheries sector would create opportunities to improve food and nutrition security
and increase employment and income generation.
This report is a literature review on food and nutrition security in Sierra Leone, based on data collected by the
Sierra Leone Statistics Office, government ministries and international and national organizations working in
Sierra Leone. It describes the current food and nutrition situation in Sierra Leone for the purpose of planning
and implementing interventions aimed at improving food and nutrition security, especially within aquatic
agricultural systems, through fisheries production systems. The review provides a country overview, with
an emphasis on Tonkolili District, which is the focal district selected for the USAID Feed the Future Sierra
Leone Agriculture project. Tonkolili produces the most fish of all the districts, and in 2013 it was identified
by the Comprehensive Aquaculture Baseline Study for Sierra Leone as the most suitable area for promotion
of integrated rice-fish farming. Developing 2% of the inland valley swamp in Tonkolili with rice-fish farms is
estimated to lead to 177 modified rice fields, covering 1060 hectares, with a total production of 318 metric tons
of fish per year. This development is estimated to improve the food security of 32,000 people.

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