In order to improve the sources of income for farming families in rural areas of Karene and Bombali districts in Sierra Leone, Inter Aide wishes to organise an internship focusing mainly on groundnut productions.
Country : Sierra Leone
Organisation : Created in 1980, Inter Aide is specialised in designing, implementing and evaluating development programs targeting poor rural families in the fields of agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and education. In 2019, Inter Aide led 51 programs in 7 countries – Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Sierra Leone. (www.interaide.org):
Duration: 6 months
Presentation of Inter Aide intervention to support farming families in Karene and Bombali districts
Inter Aide is present in Sierra Leone since 2007, and implement 3 types of programs: Agriculture, Access to Safe Water and Maintenance of Existing Water Points. Regarding Agriculture, the objective of the project is to improve the food security and the resilience of farming families located in Karene and Bombali districts (Northern Province). The action aims above all at helping families, and especially those in a precarious situation, to increase and diversify their farm productions for food consumption and income generation, by considering both dry and rainy season crops.
For the dry season, Inter Aide has been supporting for nearly 10 years small groups of producers, mainly women, in the development of market gardening in the swamps. It mainly includes the cultivation of onions (highly demanded in local markets, with a production that is mainly imported from Holland), cucumber, watermelon, okra, eggplant and pepper. This activity is particularly interesting for more vulnerable families because the work in group allows them to access a piece of land in the swamp while benefiting from the support of other group members. Inter Aide supports around one hundred groups (~ 1,500 producers). Among them, some thirty groups belong to a farmer organization (Good Heart Farmers) that is also supported by the project. Today, this CBO buys seeds independently, collect memberships, and also facilitates access to credits for its members for the dry season campaign. During the dry season, Inter Aide also supports the dissemination of palm oil pits to improve the artisanal processing of red palm oil sold on local markets.
Regarding the rainy season, by working closely with the farming families, Inter Aide has been able to establish a set of innovative practices that combine introduction of new varieties, techniques for planting material multiplication and conservation, and crop management advices. It mainly concerns:
- the dissemination of a productive and highly appreciated white yam variety (little presence in the area), with the technique of rapid multiplication by “miniset”;
- the promotion of the cultivation of plantain banana, not present in the area and highly valued on the local markets, with the use of basket compost and a planting technique to facilitate the production of many surgeons
- the introduction of a shorter and productive variety of groundnut (Malama), with the advice to use bed with some compost and to conserve the different varieties separately…
Inter Aide also supports some producers on rice intensification techniques. But as there are relatively few swamps where it is possible to effectively control the water level, this activity is therefore limited to a small number of swamps.
The rainy and dry season crops are highly inter-related as the harvests of one season are partly used to cover the expenses to start the next cropping season. The dry season farm incomes are particularly important to cover the school fees. The rainy season ensures the main sources of the food consumption, especially to get through the hunger gap. The combination of the different proposed solutions aims therefore at bringing a significant impact on the economic situation of the families. An external evaluation process has shown the impact of those solutions for certain families. But it also emphasised discrepancies in the obtained results and the need to refine the technical advices for the proposed rainy seasons’ crops.
For example, if groundnut plays a fundamental role for women’s incomes, the effects of the Malama variety, as compared to the local varieties, needs to be deeper assessed, as well as the capacities of the farmers to conserve their variety separately. The families who have been able to develop plantain production managed to generate significant additional incomes. However, plantain cultivation appears to primarily benefit to better-off families who own plots of land in the border of the swamps. Regarding yam, the management of fertility is a determining factor which needs to be better taken into account in the advices given to the families.
Description of the internship
To address those questions related to the concerned rainy season’s crops, Inter Aide would like to organise an internship for a period of 6 months. The main focus of this internship will concern the groundnut, which is a significant source of food and incomes for Sierra Leonese families. To a lesser extent, plantains and yams will also be concerned:
- Groundnut. It is expected through this internship to better study the role of the groundnut production in the women economy. This role has been partly documented within the frame of a previous evaluation process. The internship should allow to go deeper in this analysis. Added to that, through a close field work of observations, this study should allow highlighting the possibilities of increasing the groundnut productions. This will be addressed through: a close follow up of the productions and the performances at farm level with yield measurements in tonnes per hectare, an assessment of the duration of the cycle of the different varieties (Malama, Maraise, Gambay…), an economical assessment (costs of the seeds, modalities of the usurious credit system used by a large number of women to access the seeds, market price value of the different varieties), post-harvest management of the different varieties (selection of quality seeds for the next planting season, storage and care of seeds), the organisation of comparative trials in the villages to compare different practices (no bed vs bed; local variety vs Malama, use of compost in a bed vs no compost in the bed, trials to determine optimum seeds’ density per surface unit…)
- Plantain banana: several measurements were carried out in 6 small villages 18 months ago, this is to say 2 years after the introduction of plantain banana in those village (2016). The objective was to measure the dissemination of the plantain and the development of the productions. Relying on those previous data, it is expected from the intern to go back to those villages in order to take additional measurements and see how the situation is progressing. Particular attention will be given to more vulnerable families to see how far they have gradually developed plantain production, and to document the factors that favour or constraint the adoption. It will be interesting to check the possibility of introducing backyard plantain gardening for female headed pots without access to swamp land. Assess the most appropriate support method of plantain suckers by the project.
- Yam: finally, the intern will also setup, jointly with the project team and some farmers, comparative plots to help comparing the effects of the basket compost techniques and to the use of mounds, in order to evaluate the potential of promoting this technique as a way to improve the fertility management and increase the yield (link….).
Outputs/ Deliverables The expected deliverables are as follow;
- A study report on the groundnut productions including the different topic mentioned here above (role in the economy, description of the traditional practices and performances, economical study, results of the trials and recommendations).
- A small analysis of the plantain dissemination progress in previously targeted villages and a detailed presentation of the updated data
- An analysis for a few villages of rainy season 2019, to assess the progress that has been made by the farmers on the dissemination and extension of the plots.
- A clear protocol for the comparative assessment on yam cropping using basket compost and ridges.
All documents will be written in English.
Required qualification and competencies
- Advanced University Degree in Agriculture / Agronomy
- Fluent in English
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Analytical skills
- Attentive, autonomy
- Proven interest for field work
- Resistance to social and cultural isolation
The intern should show a high level of autonomy and initiative taking. He / she will be in direct contact with the Project Manager, and in France with the Head of Sector in charge of Sierra Leone. He / she should communicate regularly with the latter to discuss the progress of the work and present the intermediate results.
The volunteer will be based in Kamakwie (where the Inter Aide project office is located), with several trips to Makeni and possibly other towns of the country.
Languages spoken: English (working language with the team). The populations speak Krio or other local languages.
- Internship of 6 months
- Flights beginning and end of internship
- Visa fees
Internship to be filled as soon as possible
Applications will be processed as they are received
Please send a letter of application + C.V.
under the following reference “STAGE/SL/GROUNDNUT/2021” to firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on: http://www.interaide.org