|International Society for Horticultural Science|
Horticulture Research International
Sierra Leone has a typical tropical climate characterised by very hot dry season, which starts from late November and ends in May, and rainy season, which starts from April and ends in Mid-November.
Sierra Leone lies on the west coast of Africa between Latitudes 7 oN and 10 oN and Longitudes 10 oW and 13 oW. It shares boundaries with the Republic of Guinea on the north-west, Republic of Liberia on the south-east and the Atlantic Ocean on the south-west.
Geographically, Sierra Leone can be divided into five main physiological regions. The Coastal plains, the interior lowlands, the interior plateaux, the Freetown Peninsular and the Fouta Djallon Hills.
In Sierra Leone the history of agricultural research dates back to the colonial period when agricultural schools, colleges, experimental stations, botanical gardens and extension were established. Horticulture (cultivation of vegetables, fruits and flowers) as we know it today, has developed very slowly. Not only is there very little horticultural research going on at present, there is also lack of a well-organised growers community.
The country's horticultural production is predominantly in the hands of individuals, mostly women. However, one successful horticultural association is the FAO Women's Vegetable Project. The project works mainly with women vegetable farmers by supplying them with seeds, fertilizers, and herbicides at subsidised rates. The project also has its extension agents who work with these women. There is an organised marketing facility for the disposal of these vegetables in the city through hotels and petty traders. Individual women also sell to itinerant traders.
There is however, a growing awareness of the importance of horticultural research in attaining food self-sufficiency in Sierra Leone. Farmers are being sensitised on the feasibility and profitability of flower production in the country.
Distribution of Horticulture
Horticultural crops are grown in most parts of the country.
The main research thrust is the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and the Environment. There is a National Agricultural Research Co-ordinating Council (NARCC) which co-ordinates research in the country and advises government on policies regarding agricultural research.
Nature of Institutes
There are two main agricultural research institutes in the country at present. The Rice Research Station (RRS) and the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR).
In the University of Sierra Leone, the Department of Agronomy, at the Njala University College (NUC) and the Botany Department of the Fourah Bay College (FBC), carry out some research in horticulture.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and the Environment has Horticultural Departments in the various regions of the country. The major activities of this department involve the development of seedling nurseries for vegetables, fruits and flowers.
Organisations / Institutes:
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and the Environment
Rice Research Station (RRS)
University of Sierra Leone