Deputy Minister for Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, Marie Jalloh launching the report ©FAO Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone: Report on the status of food and nutrition security in the context of the Ebola outbreak

10/11/2014

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security and the Food Security Cluster presented the preliminary findings of the Rapid Assessment Report. The report explains the food and nutrition security situation in the context of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

The preliminary report, launched by Marie Jalloh, Deputy Minister for Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, on 3 October 2014, revealed that the impact of the Ebola virus disease on food security is not only limited to the disease affected areas but countrywide.

The national-wide study covered three chiefdoms in each of the 13 districts in which a total of 702 households were interviewed as well as 351 community leaders, 39 rural market sites, 26 district headquarter town markets and eight agricultural commodity traders were also interviewed.

The report states that the outbreak has caused shortage of labour for weeding, harvesting and other crucial activities due to the death of able-bodied persons, adding that families are reported to have abandoned their farms or displaced to areas perceived as ‘safe’ from the disease.

The report further states that the disruption and closure of periodic markets has created an increase in prices of commodities in places where they are highly demanded and reduction in those places where the supply is in excess as it shows that the prices for imported rice have increased about 13 percent and over 40 percent in fish.

The decrease in prices has deprived the income of farming households, especially those participating in both production and agribusiness subsectors and that the reduction in production levels and incomes has directly affected food security.

Urgent measures are needed to address the current food security gaps and rehabilitate key agricultural market infrastructure to ensure quick recovery of the sector as women mostly bear the brunt because they constitute the greater percentage of persons engaged in the sector.

Last month FAO appealed to resource partners for the estimated $30 million urgently required to mitigate the impact of EVD on the food and nutritional security of affected communities in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and neighbouring at-risk countries.