Master of Science
Department or Program
Altman Ira J.
AN ABSTRACT OF THE RESEARCH PAPER OF
Alusine M. Tarawalie for the Master of Science degree in Agribusiness economics, presented on November 20, 2019 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale
TITLE: THE AGRICULTURAL CREDIT SYSTEMS IN SIERRA LEONE: ITS EFFECTIVENESS IN AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE YONI CHIEFDOM
MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Altman Ira J.
This research paper assesses the Agricultural financial services that provides agricultural credits to the small holder farming community in Sierra Leone and it impacted the development of agriculture in the Yoni chiefdom. Rural sierra Leone is dominated by small holder subsistence Agriculture. About four million people or precisely 60 percent of the population lived in the rural community and farming is their source of income. The residents grow rice, cassava, some vegetables and groundnuts for their own consumption with sometimes sell the surplus. The average farm size cultivated by a farm family is averagely 2.74 hectares, typically made up of on upland, inland sites, inland valley swamps, riverain grassland and Bolilnds.
Agricultural credits system is their source of financial services that help in providing farm inputs to improve their productivity to the highest level, in turn raise their standard of living and improve their rural communities. To exploit the potentials of credit in the form of financial services and perhaps increase the resource productivity and output growth in agriculture is particularly justified when farmers
realize low productivity and savings capacity, poorly developed rural financial markets, and availability of appropriate farm technologies whose adoption is constrained by shortages of funds. Based on the needs to promote an innovative, commercially -oriented and modern agriculture, Agricultural credits as the key limiting factor facing the farmers in food production was chosen for this study.
Government effort to financial inclusion through the Bank of Sierra Leone was very minimal to reach the rural small holder farmers. The commercial banks and the community banks realized the fact that agricultural investment is very risky and not bankable. Also, the Ministry of agriculture develop a small holder commercialization program (SCP) is the government initiative for the development of agriculture in Sierra Leone. The vision of the SCP is to make agriculture the engine for socioeconomic growth and development through commercial agriculture and to promote farming as a business. Agriculture demands different forms of inputs to be productive, among which, credit is indispensable. The farmers view the SCP as a mechanization program because the government provide tractors that cannot help small holder farmers.