As sub-Saharan Africa relies increasingly on food imports, the sustainability of local food systems will become a critical element of food security. This paper highlights the current sustenance model of rural farming in the Magbainba Ndohahun Chiefdom, Bombali District, in northern Sierra Leone. Crucial components of this model are shifting cultivation practices, seed use and access to seed technologies, perceptions of land value, indebtedness, and land accessibility through land tenure (Kimaa). Using ethnographic and qualitative methods, this paper provides a snapshot of methods rural farmers currently employ while advocating for the importance of a more holistic approach to future efforts in sustainability. The recommended approach should highlight interactions and interdependencies between technical decision-making in farming as well as socioeconomic and sociocultural contributions to farming practices. Furthermore, I offer suggestions on ameliorating soil health through the encouragement of increased fallow lengths by adjusting land value negotiations through Kimaa and through the encouragement of seed research entities such as New Rice for Africa (NERICA) that propagate and flourish in preferred conditions without the use of inputs such as pesticides or fertilizers.
|Keywords:||Sierra Leone, NERICA, Bombali District, Africa, Farming, Sustainability, Land Tenure, Rice, Fallow|
Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, Environmental Studies, University of Washington – Tacoma, Tacoma, WA, USA
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