ABSTRACT

In 1942 an officer of the Department of Agriculture, F. A. Squire, made a collection of Mende rice varieties from farms in Kenema, Kailahun and Kono Districts. Farmers in Mogbuama recognise three main groups of cultivated rice and two non-cultivated types. The first group of cultivated rices embraces the ‘quick’ varieties planted early in bati farms and on moisture-retentive soils. They ripen, on average, within 90-120 days. Yields are often quite low, but it is difficult to judge how much this is an intrinsic feature of the rices in question and how much is due to bird damage and theft (birds, like humans, suffer from a ‘hungry season’). Heads of farm household were asked when they had first started to grow their current rice varieties, where and how they had obtained the seed, whether their current varieties had replaced any which they did not now cultivate, and why these changes or substitutions had been made.