Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone - State of Food Security: Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis, May 2021

Situation Report
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Executive summary

This is the third Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis in Sierra Leone evidencing trend analysis that spans over ten years.

The 2020 food security and vulnerability analysis was conducted eight months after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Sierra Leone. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the global economy, put enormous pressure on national health systems and paralyzed the world population in strict lockdowns. Sierra Leone has not been spared and the Government, in its efforts to contain the pandemic, imposed a partial inter-district lockdown in March 2020 and later a national lockdown was announced, which set measures that included border closure, school closures and restrictions on movements. These lockdown measures stifled economic growth, increased prices of basic commodities, including staple food prices and led to loss of income for majority of Sierra Leoneans. While this food security analysis is not a COVID-19 impact study, it does provide insights into the fragility of livelihoods and trend analysis in comparison with previous food security analyses of 2015 and 2010 that were also implemented in challenging contexts: the deadly outbreak of Ebola in 2014/15 and the first analysis was conducted against the backdrop of the global economic crisis in 2008/09.

Food security had briefly improved in 2018 since the end of the Ebola outbreak in 2014/15, based on the analysis of the Food Security Monitoring System (FSMS), which is conducted by the WFP and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and has the same methodology as the Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis. The monitoring system data from September 2018 showed an overall national food insecurity rate of 44 percent. However, in 2019 the monitoring system1 showed again a higher prevalence of food insecurity at 53 percent. This indicates that any improvement seen in 2018 was not because of any structural progresses in addressing the underlying causes of food insecurity in Sierra Leone but a temporary progress that was caused by short lived favourable conditions.

Food insecurity and vulnerability to shocks have worsened significantly over the past ten years for most Sierra Leoneans, reaching a staggering 57 percent of the population. The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout has further exacerbated living conditions and access to basic amenities in 2020. The latest Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis in Sierra Leone gives an overview and a trend analysis of the food and nutrition security situation today compared with previous analyses of 2010 and 2015.