QUALITY SEED AND RICE PRODUCTION IN SIERRA LEONE: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CHALLENGES FACED BY SMALL HOLDER RICE FARMERS
By BRIDGET OYAH KAMARA | Department of Development Studies | Agriculture and Rural Development
Quality seed is considered one of the most vital inputs in crop production. This study was conducted in 2014, to assess the quality of seed rice and the challenges faced by smallholder rice farmers in Bombali and Kambia districts in Sierra Leone. The study used questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions and an experimental design to collect data. Findings from the study revealed that thirty three different seed rice varieties were cultivated in Bombali and Kambia districts over the past three years (from 2011 to 2013). The distribution of seed varieties was related to ecological and cultural differences. A student t-test (at the 95 percent confidence interval) reveals that there was a significant difference between the mean germination percentages obtained in the laboratory and that of the greenhouse experiment (tcalculated = -5.882, tcritical value = ±3.182, at 95percent confident interval). On one hand, the results show that Pa Kiamp has the best quality (90percent and 59percent germination in laboratory and greenhouse conditions, respectively) compared to the other three seed rice varieties (Pa Chiam, Butter cup and ROK 24) though it has the lowest vigor (90percent and 32percent at 2 cm and 4 cm depth, respectively). On the other hand, the results show that ROK 24 has the worst quality (20percent and 5percent germination in laboratory and greenhouse conditions, respectively) compared to the other three seed rice varieties though it had the best vigor (100percent at 2 cm and 4 cm depth, respectively). Mindful of the fact that smallholder farmers struggle to improve on rice production in Bombali and Kambia districts, they are often challenged by: limited resources (financial, material and human); limited technical support and training from the government; threats from pest and diseases, land tenure and limited infrastructure for post-harvest handling. There is therefore the need for policy and research efforts to tackle the quest for quality seed rice in Bombali and Kambia districts in particular and in Sierra Leone at large.
Key words: Smallholder farmers, quality seed rice, rice varieties, challenges and Sierra Leone. Download