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Crop-Specific EU Aid and Smallholder Food Security in Sierra Leone
The article analyses the viability of promoting crop-specific programs as a mean to improve smallholder net farm income and food security. The case study explores the relevance of European Union Stabilisation of Export Earnings (STABEX) funds in supporting Sierra Leone’s agricultural development agenda. By analysing the drivers of food security for a number of targeted smallholders in the two most important agricultural zones of Sierra Leone, it is possible to compare the suitability of crop-specific support (in rice, cocoa and coffee) versus general aid programs (public infrastructure, on and off farm diversification opportunities, sustainable practices, access to productive assets, etc.). The results indicate that crop diversification strategies are widespread and closely related to risk minimisation and enhanced food security among smallholders. Similarly, crop-specific programs mainly focusing on commercialisation tend to overlook important constraints associated to self-consumption and productivity.