Sierra Leone - Agriculture Value Chain Development Project (AVDP) - June 2022
Inland Valley Swamp – The AVDP reinforces the concepts that farming is a business and that the country should be able to grow what it eats. In addition to its traditional value chain support programme in rice, cocoa and oil palm production, the project is working with farmers, especially women and women-headed households, persons with disabilities, and youth to increase vegetable production as part of growing efforts to boost their household incomes and nutrition. Inland Valley Swamp contributes to higher productivity of rice and vegetables through development of water control structures in low-lying swamp areas. By controlling water flow, the swamps become productive areas for crop cultivation, allowing for up to three harvests of multi-cropping per year and avoiding the deforestation of hillsides where smallholders had typically planted their crops. IVS plots have a higher yield than comparable-sized hillside plots.
Aminata Samura Bockarie did slash and burn upland farming before the AVDP IVS project. “Upland farming was difficult. We also tried to work in the swamp areas on our own, but productivity was not very good without a water control system. There were many trees and the swamps often flooded.” With the IVS water control system in place to regulate the underground water source, smallholders like Aminata can use the swamps for rice and vegetable cultivation to harvest two or even three crops per year. With increased crop yields, Aminata not only grows enough for her household consumption, but sells her rice and vegetables, contributing both to increased nutrition and income for her family.
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