In 2004, AYM conducted a feasibility study in Sierra Leone to determine the strategies to be put in place to for the first chapter of the Movement. The feasibility study, in addition to other research, concluded that the largest areas of opportunity in the private sector of Sierra Leone are agriculture and tourism.
“Agriculture in Sierra Leone is a significant part of the economy of Sierra Leone with it accounting for 58 percent national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2007. Two-thirds of the population of Sierra Leone are involved in subsistence agriculture. The agricultural sector grew by about 14 percent in 2007, led by crops and five percent in 2008.” [Wikipedia]
Much of the land in Sierra Leone is very fertile, yet foodstuffs are one of the country’s main imported goods. There is a strong need to introduce new vegetables and fruits to Sierra Leone, especially varieties of short-duration and high nutrition so that routine planting will yield continuous produce and improve the population’s overall health.
“Agriculture constitutes the backbone of our country and is the springboard of our rural communities,” President Koroma stressed. He added that to demonstrate the commitment of his government to making agriculture his top most priority, the budget allocation for agriculture was moved from 1.6% to 7.7%, adding that by 2010, it will move to 9.9% to expect 6% annual growth from agriculture” [Awareness News]
In launching the Sierra Leone Youth Vegetable Gardens program in 2007, AYM opened three sites to grow new crops like lettuce, carrots, cabbage, onions, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, green beans, and a wide variety of other vegetables and herbs in Sierra Leone. The three sites – Mattru Jong, Georma (Jong), and Mobimbi (Imperi) – make up the foundation of AYM’s agricultural program. AYM is using the best practices method to create a comprehensive guide to starting and maintaining new garden projects to be able to spread the programs across Bonthe District 2016.
Nearly 53% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank.
UNICEF reported last year that about 34% of the population is physically stunted due to malnutrition.
Rice production has increased by 35%, and cassava and sweet potato production by 34%, while palm oil, coffee, and cocoa have also seen an upswing. [UN Africa Renewal]