In Sierra Leone farmers rehabilitate their lands

Farmers Pa Yorla Kamara and Bampia Sesay, recipients of WFP food assistance, are rehabilitating their land following years of conflict. WFP/Francis Boima

Following a decade-long civil war, farmers are slowly rebuilding their assets and turning them into productive fields.

MANGE BUREH – Pa Yorla Kamara, a 62 year old man with seven children, lost not only his house, but his wife and two children who were brutally killed by rebels during Sierra Leone's decade-long civil war.  Abandoning his 10 hectare palm oil plantation, Pa Kamara fled for his life to Loko Masama and only returned in 2002 when the war had ended.

“I was confused and didn’t know where to start,” Pa Kamara explains. “Feeding my family was so difficult let alone paying laborers to rehabilitate my plantation.”

Pa Kamara recalls the struggle to rehabilitate his plantation that was overgrown with thick forest at Mange Bureh community. “After we came back in 2002, we could not harvest much because the plantation was bushy. A good part of it was stolen by thieves. Sales from the little we harvested provided just enough food for the family,” said Pa Kamara.

The Mange Bureh farmers are slowly healing the scars of war and poverty.  They are recovering assets that have been abandoned during the war, and turning them into productive fields.

WFP provides food assistance to participants doing the under brushing along with technical supervision from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security.  EU assistance helps to fund the initiative.

“Food from WFP energized our young men and women who rehabilitated this plantation,” said Bampia Sesay, secretary of the 27-member Mange Bureh Farmers’ Association.

“I expect a bigger harvest this year, which will enable me to feed my family and to pay my children's school fees from the money I get,” says Pa Kamara. “In the future we hope to save up some of the proceeds to buy a milling machine.”

“Without the food assistance, we would not have accomplished much,” said Bampia Sesay.