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 AS  Vol.7 No.11 , November 2016
Extent of Reduction of the Fallow Period and Its Impact on Upland Rice Production in the Nongowa Chiefdom of Kenema District in Eastern Sierra Leone
Abstract:
Slash-and-burn agriculture is the common practice for upland rice intercropping system in Sierra Leone and it has been blamed for the loss of forest vegetation across the country. Shortening of the fallow period in the Eastern region of Sierra Leone has implications on agricultural food production and the persistence of the remaining tropical rainforest. This study was therefore undertaken to assess: 1) the extent of reduction of the fallow period in the Nongowa Chiefdom of Kenema District; 2) the causes of reduction in the fallow period; 3) farmers’ perception of the relevance of fallow period and the implications of reduction of fallow period on crop production. The study revealed a drastic reduction of the fallow period in the chiefdom with a mean of 3.8 years which falls far below the country mean fallow period of 8.8 years as estimated by FAO. Farmers pointed out that the reduction of the fallow period was as a result of land scarcity due to competing land uses such as large scale commercial agriculture, logging, mining, charcoal burning and expansion of settlements. Farmers agreed that a fallow period of at least 10 years is necessary for upland rice production. Farmers were aware of the impact of reduction of the fallow period on upland rice production and were able to estimate rice yields based on the age of the fallow. Also, farmers have attempted to adapt to the constraints posed by shorter fallow periods by selection of rice varieties to suit the length of the fallow periods.
Cite this paper: Kamara, A. , Sidie Vonu, O. , Lansana, J. , Lansana, J. and Saidu Sesay, F. (2016) Extent of Reduction of the Fallow Period and Its Impact on Upland Rice Production in the Nongowa Chiefdom of Kenema District in Eastern Sierra Leone. Agricultural Sciences, 7, 805-812. doi: 10.4236/as.2016.711073.
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