Sierra Leone

GIEWS Country Brief: Sierra Leone 12-January-2012

News and Press Release
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  • Preliminary estimates point to an above average rice production in 2011

  • Currency depreciation led to higher inflation

Estimates point to a larger rice harvest in 2011

Harvesting of the 2011 rice crop was completed last December. Following above average rains throughout the growing season, rice production (paddy) is estimated to have increased compared to the previous year’s good output. Similarly, a good cassava harvest was gathered. Yield levels for rice have grown only gradually since the end of the civil war, and production gains are mainly as a result of an expansion in the cultivated area, which has grown each year since 2000.

The country’s dependency on imported rice has been decreasing; however, it is still a net rice importer, with imports expected to reach approximately 90 000 tonnes in 2012.

Currency depreciation increases imported inflation

The steep depreciation of the Leone (local currency) since 2009 led to higher inflation rates. Average national inflation is estimated to have reached 18 percent in 2011. In spite of last year’s good crop, prices are likely to remain firm this year due to the continuing depreciation of the Leone and persistently high international food prices. Government decided in 2011 to ban rice export to limit price increases. Nearly 50 percent of households’ expenditure in urban, peri-urban and rural is allocated to food purchases, according to a WFP assessment in 2009.