FAO/GIEWS: Africa Report No.2, August 1999 SIERRA LEONE 39

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SIERRA LEONE

Area:
72 000 sq.km
Climate:
Mostly tropical wet-dry; extreme south tropical wet; rainy season: March-October
Population:
4.84 million (1999 estimate); G.N.P. per caput: US$ 200 (1997)
Specific characteristics of the country:
Low-income food-deficit country; coastal country
Logistics:
Roads inadequate
Major foodcrops:
Rice, roots and tubers
Marketing year:
January/December; Lean season: July-August
Share of cereals in total calorie intake:
57 percent


CURRENT SITUATION


Growing conditions are adequate and allow a good development of rice crop and tubers. However, despite the recent peace agreement, insecurity in the major part of the country during the beginning of the growing season has prevented the delivery of agricultural inputs, and disrupted most agricultural activities. The implementation of the recently signed peace plan could allow emergency distributions of seeds and tools but might not be sufficient to allow a real recovery of the agricultural production.

Food distributions are underway but are insufficient to cover the needs of the large number of displaced persons. Current estimates point to about 700 000 to 1 million people displaced within the country, including an estimated 150 000 in Freetown, 25 000 in Waterloo, 30 000 in Lungi, 55 000 in Kenema, 4 000 in Bo, 13 000 in Blama, 17 000 in Kambia. The nutritional status of IDPs remains precarious and food shortages have been reported in various places in the country, including in the areas of Kambia, Bo, Kenema, Makeni and Daru. Food prices are still extremely high. Despite the recently signed cease fire and the control by ECOWAS forces of the main roads to Bo and Kenema areas, poor infrastructures and the start of the rainy season have made road travels very difficult and are hampering the delivery of substantial quantities of food in these areas where large numbers of internally displaced persons have settled. Food aid deliveries to the north of the country are organized from neighbouring Guinea. Significant improvement of the food supply situation is expected as a result of the implementation of the peace process and the desarming of fighters, which allows humanitarian agencies to reach regions where no assistance could be provided during the last six months. FAO estimates Sierra Leone's cereal import requirement for 1999 at about 290 000 tonnes, including 140 000 tonnes of food aid. As ofmid-July, only 24 000 tonnes of food aid, mainly in the form of bulgur wheat, had been delivered.


CEREAL SUPPLY/DEMAND BALANCE FOR THE 1999 MARKETING YEAR (in thousand tonnes)


  Wheat Rice Coarse grains Total
Normal Production - 390 57 447
Normal Imports 60 110 15 185
of which: Structural food aid 40 10 15 65
1999 Domestic Availability - 210 53 263
1998 Production (rice in paddy terms) - 350 53 403
1998 Production (rice in milled terms) - 210 53 263
Possible stock drawdown - - - -
1999 Utilization 100 350 103 553
Food Use 94 280 93 467
of which: local purchase requirement - - - -
Non-food use - 70 10 80
Exports or Re-exports - - - -
Possible stock build up 6 - - 6
1999 Import Requirement 100 140 50 290
Anticipated commercial imports 40 110 - 150
Food aid needs 60 30 50 140
Current Aid Position        
Food aid pledges 16 3 6 24
of which: Delivered 16 3 6 24
Donor-financed purchases - - - -
of which: for local use - - - -
for export - - - -
Estimated Per Caput Consumption (kg/Year) 19 58 19 96
Indexes        
1998 production as % of normal:       90
1999 import requirement as % of normal:       157
1999 food aid requirement as % of normal:       215


FAO/GIEWS - August 1999

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