Economic, political and physical problems involved in expanding the cultivation of swamp rice in Sierra Leone Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/v118rh18g

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  • Swamp rice offers tropical populations the most feasible means of obtaining a dependable and plentiful supply of protein-rich cereals. An acre of swamp rice land will support many persons and the crop does not cause erosion. A further production of this type of rice appears warranted in Sierra Leone and perhaps in other areas in Africa where the soils and terrain are suitable and there is enough water. This study surveys economic, political, and physical problems involved in the cultivation of swamp rice in Sierra Leone and is an interpretative research project based on information obtained by interviews and study in the field during a visit to that country. Library research was also utilized, but only for general background, because little material about swamp rice in Sierra Leone is available. In Sierra Leone agricultural reports, land surveys, and scientific articles were consulted and discussed with their authors. Interviews were held with Government Ministers, Agricultural Officers, scientists, political and economic experts, and rice growers and traders. As a result of these investigations it appears that swamp rice is an excellent crop for Sierra Leone, for it can be grown in reclaimed mangrove swamps and coastal grasslands, and does not cause erosion as does upland rice. Adequate acreage remains available for future development of swamp rice farming. The climate is well suited to rice growing, and the coastal soils are fertile. Moderate capital investment will be required for the reclaiming of the southern mangroves, the clearing of grasslands, the building of empolders to keep out salt water, the drainage of permanently-flooded swamps, and small dams or bunds for flood control on some of the rivers. The problem of land tenure in Sierra Leone, however, is a serious one. Litigation over land ownership is especially prevalent in the north where the farms are small and virtually owned by individual families. In the south rice schemes have been developed as cooperatives on unused land owned communally by the tribes. In this area the matter of individual incentive is an important consideration. Another inhibiting factor is the labor supply, which in the swamp-rice farming areas is inadequate for further land development. Newcomers are resented in local areas and, moreover, the rigors of swamp farming discourage settlement. The improving educational system has had an effect of reducing the local labor supply. High wages and prices may be the best way to encourage people to farm swamp rice. The long-run market potential for swamp rice is favorable, especially within Sierra Leone itself and in Africa. Many people in Africa are already turning to rice as a staple in their diet.
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