New Agriculturist Focus on /6 Focus on Agriculture after conflict

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Working in partnership

After years of conflict, with a weak private sector and inadequate capacity at local government level, it will be necessary for innovations in research to be led by international and local NGOs or community-based organisations. It is important that a broader network of partners is established including private and public sector organisations, policymakers and the media. Communication and building trust have been identified by RIU as key to developing an integrated approach in Sierra Leone. Other necessities will include capacity strengthening and changes in policy, so that the country's poor farmers and rural communities are able to improve crop and livestock production, enhance agro-processing activities, and access credit and markets.

In August 2007, five years after the end of the war, the first independent elections were held but poverty and corruption continue to blight the nation's potential for prosperity. Although diamond and mineral exports are helping to rebuild its economy, Sierra Leone's wealth lies not just in its minerals but also in its rich natural resources, which are necessary to aid a population in need of improved agricultural production and revitalised rural communities. Rising people above the poverty will take time. But most importantly if peace and prosperity are to be achieved and the sparkle brought back to this beleaguered nation, there needs to be popular determination to bring about change.

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