Sierra Leone Food Suppliers, Accommodation and Other Markets

To access the Additional Companies Contact List, please click on the following link:

4.2.8 Sierra Leone Additional Service Provision Contact List

Main Food Suppliers

Agriculture is a major part of the Sierra Leonean economy, with a reported three quarters of the population involved one way or another in agriculture. Before the war, the country had been an exporter of rice, coffee, cacao and palm oil. While some industrial farming did take place in Sierra Leone, most farming still remains semi-subsistence. Rice is the staple food. A combination of food crops, including maize, sorghum, cassava, and beans, are grown in a mixed cropping system. The southern and eastern parts of the country grow a wider combination of crops, while northern areas rely primarily on rice, cassava and millet.

Rice is the most significant cereal in the Leonean diet, of great cultural importance and a major trading commodity. Rice is produced in three ways: 1) as dryland rice in “upland” fields intercropped with other cereals and food crops; 2) as swamp rice in interior swamps (“IVS”); and 3) as broadcast or transplanted flood rice in coastal areas (“mangrove”). Dryland rice production provides the largest share of domestic supply, while swamp and flood rice have the higher yields. Rice production faces considerable constraints to production and marketing.

At present, an estimated 23% of domestic production is marketed. It is reported that producers are selling rice to finance reconstruction costs, with a resulting impact on food consumption levels. As such, imported rice is a significant contributor to rice consumption. At present, Freetown is the major destination of imported rice, and major sink for marketed domestic production. However, the opening-up of rural areas to commercial access has substantially increased the presence of imported rice (and other commodities) in these areas in the later part of 2002, and of local rice and other domestic food products to Freetown. The need for rice imports can be expected to grow in relation to: 1) the population (2 % per year); 2) shifts from the current rice substitutes (bulgur, cassava) to rice as people have more disposable income; and 3) overall disposable income, allowing consumers to shift purchases to more expensive varieties.

Accommodation

Freetown has some ten or more listed hotels with high standards of service and accommodation, some of which are conveniently situated close to the downtown beaches, in particular Lumley Beach. These include the Hotel Bintumani, Cape Sierra Hotel, Family Kingdom Hotel, Sierra Light House Hotel, Kimbima Hotel, Cabenda Hotel and the Country Lodge Complex, Hill Valley Hotel and Masny More. Cheaper accommodation in the capital is also quite varied with a handful of guest houses that offer simple accommodation that is usually reasonably priced and well served. These include the Palace Guest House, Franjia Guest House and Chinatown Guest House. There are plenty of other accommodation facilities catering to a more local trade, and some caution needs to be applied in your choices in this regard.

Out of town things can be very patchy, and although there are quite a few options, one need to be careful in making choices. In the second city of Bo and other regional capital there are also a number of listed hotels and guest houses offering good and reasonably priced accommodation. On the cheaper side the Hotel Sir Milton in Bo is one of the viable options. Elsewhere the situation is varied and quite dynamic, and is changing fairly rapidly. There are quite a few listed hotels and guest houses scattered around the country, and if you want to book in advance, your choices and destinations will be limited. However at the very least you should book your first few nights’ accommodation in Freetown, giving yourself the opportunity to ask around and come up with the best options. The City of Makeni is fast becoming more cosmopolitan with more improved accommodation facilities.