The September 2023, Food Security Monitoring System Report highlights some of the key contributors to the deteriorating food security levels in Sierra Leone. The rate of deterioration in country has been following a significantly steeper curve over the past 2 years due to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global food crisis since the start of the Ukraine crisis.
Key findings of the September 2023 report depict a significant increase in severe food insecurity, with almost one in three households (28 percent) affected, marking an 8 percent rise since February 2023. (i.e they have run out of food and gone a day or more without eating the required food) and 93 percent of them spend over half of their income on food items.
The prices of staple food commodities, mirror the national macro-economic trends. Notably, the prices of both local and imported rice increased by 39 percent and 53 percent, respectively, from June 2022 to June 2023. These substantial price hikes are reflected in the FSMS results, raising concerns about an impending and broader food security crisis on the horizon for many Sierra Leonean households. This situation is particularly alarming as household incomes remain stagnant in the face of rising expenses.
Increased input costs for agricultural production such as chemical fertilizers, seeds, and high transportation costs to markets constitute the local factors that impact the income levels of small holder farmers. Considering the nation’s economic dependence on agriculture sector, which constitutes over half of its GDP, these stressors translate into increased food insecurity levels for most of Sierra Leoneans living in both in rural and urban areas.