ABSTRACT

Few would quarrel with the argument that Sierra Leone wetland environments are well-suited to further expansion of rice production. It has been recognised for some time, however, that small-scale producers (as in many parts of West Africa) are quite tightly constrained by labour shortages, especially seasonal labour bottlenecks. It seems clear, then, that wetland developments, and improvements to rice farming systems more generally, for small-scale farmers in Sierra Leone require a new approach. Potentially fruitful R&D agenda are already apparent in indigenous practices, experiments and innovations associated with the kinds of catenary farming systems described in the case study. Some of the issues are outlined in the following discussion. What is needed, it is suggested, is a balanced and integrated approach to the cultivation of upland, swamp and intermediate land. Each of these aspects is discussed in turn, starting with the all-important boundary zone between swamp and upland.