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Summary of SRI in Sierra Leone

SRI began in Sierra Leone when World Vision/Sierra Leone sent one of its agricultural staff to Madagascar in November 2000 to learn about SRI from Association Tefy Saina (see Sierra Leone report in Sanya conference proceedings). SRI has continued to gain traction in Sierra Leone in areas where rice is cultivated.

The West African Rice Company (WARC) was started in 2011 by two Argentinians who moved to Sierra Leone to build up the country's commercial rice sector as a means of alleviating poverty. A video about Emiliano Mroue, one of WARC's founders, is available on YouTube. In early 2013, WARC commissioned a study by Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) to evaluate and give recommendations for their nascent outgrower development model. (See SIPA report).

Information on SRI in Sierra Leone was presented at a Regional Workshop on System of Rice Intensification of (SRI), which was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on July 26 and 27, 2012. Sierra Leone was represented by Samuel Soki Harding, Daniel Santigie Fornah and Edward S. A. Kargbo at the workshop, which was organized by the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), the National Center of Specialization for Rice (WAAPP Mali) and SRI-Rice (Cornell University) within the framework of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP); Oxfam America sponsored participation for civil society representatives.

In March 2013, Gerald Aruna, Country Director for the Italian NGO ENGIM International, started the Swamp Development Project as a mixed rice and vegetable production system, using SRI rice followed by vegetables in an inland valley swamp system. Aruna has also been involved in providing Farmer Field School-based trainings for extension workers, farmers and CRS staff as the NGO incorporates SRI into their rice value chain work (Integrating Savings and Agricultural Development II) in the Kailahun and Koinadugu Districts, and with the Centre for the Coordination of Youth Activity (CCYA) in the Bombali District. Aruna also authored a CRS training manual for facilitators which was used for the trainings.

According to a World Bank article, about 10,865 Sierra Leone farmers had adopted the SRI as of June 2014. SRI adoption increased in the as the project Improving and Scaling up the System of Rice Intensification in West Africa, which formally began in January 2014, gained momentum. The SRI-WAAPP map, which is current as of 2016, shows over 40 sites where farmers have received training. A 2016 article highlights the success of SRI-WAAPP in Sierra Leone.

During the 2015 Ebola crisis, Gerald Aruna reported that SRI promotion efforts had to be adjusted to give priority to national and local efforts to stem the spread of the Ebola virus. In some of the communities with which he has been working on SRI demonstrations had been very seriously affected by the spread of the disease. Gerald and associates have been providing medical supplies and personal protective equipment with support from Italian Cooperation funds. Social mobilization campaigns to contain the virus have been carried out in 40 communities, holding focus group discussions for community members of all ages and giving them Ebola virus disease (EVD) education.

A 2017 Agronomie Africaine article assessing SRI in the Mangrove Associated Swamps (MAS) showed enriched basic SRI gave an average yield three times greater than the average yield obtained with current farmer practices (6.2 and 2.0 t/ha) and was most economical.

Videos of SRI in Sierra Leone can be found on YouTube SRI-Rice channel Africa playlist and the Flooded Cellar Productions System of Rice Intensification playlist, which includes a video of Gerald Aruna's work with SRI in Mendesora village. During December 2019, the Annual Chairperson's Award was given to Pa Foday Kanu of Medesora Village in Koya Chiefdom for his work with SRI. During 2016, Aruna adapted SRI methods for growing the leafy krain krain vegetable. (See article on the System of Krain Krain Intensification, SKKI). During 2017, he obtained support for an SRI project in six communities (see details). During 2019, with Aruna's help, ENGIM Internazionale obtained funding to begin a three-year project that may include the System of Onion Intensfication, which is based on SRI methods. In October 2021, the Adaptation Fund approved the SRI-based “Scaling up Climate Resilient Rice Production in West Africa” (RICOWAS) project which includes Sierra Leone and 12 other countries in the region.

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