Agriculture is dominated by smallholder farmers who occupy the majority of land, and produce most of the crop and livestock products in Sierra Leone. Nonetheless, the key long-standing challenge of the smallholder farmers is low productivity that stems from the lack of access to markets, credit, and technology, and in recent years these are compounded by the volatile food and energy prices and very recently by the global financial crisis. Holistically, smallholder farmers in Sierra Leone can be categorized on the basis of: (i) the agro-ecological zones in which they operate; (ii) the type and composition of their farm portfolio and landholding; or (iii) on the basis of annual revenue they generate from farming activities. Developing successful smallholder farming in country-specific context for agricultural productivity and food security to understanding household food insecurity largely depends on three interdependent components – food availability as a function of production; food access/entitlements as a function of purchasing power or job availability; and food absorption/utilization as a function of environmental hygiene, family healthcare and drinking water security. Overcoming these challenges to ending food insecurity and poverty, the ultimate goal is to establish relevant indicators for agricultural productivity and food security planning at the local level, mainly emphasizing the basis for comprehensive food availability, access and absorption. Retrospectively, translating specific indicators to interpret who and how many smallholder household famers are better-off or very poor in the implementation process provide a platform for fruitful agenda with smallholder farmer inclusiveness. This conceptual framework provides the enabling environment to showcase the future of smallholder agricultural productivity and food security in Sierra Leone.
Keywords: Smallholder Farming, Agricultural Productivity, Food Security, Relevant Indicators, Sierra Leone