Agricultural research and development (R&D) in Sierra Leone virtually ceased in the 1990s due to the ravages of civil war. Several researchers were killed by rebels, research facilities and equipment were destroyed or severely damaged, and many research stations were abandoned as staff took refuge in Freetown (Asenso-Okyere et al. 2009). When peace was finally declared in 2002, Sierra Leone embarked on what will be a long road toward reconstructing its agricultural research infrastructure and capacity. As a result, agricultural R&D spending rose rapidly.
In 2009, the country invested 7.5 billion leones or 6.9 million PPP dollars on agricultural R&D (both in 2005 prices) compared with just 2.2 billion leones or 2.8 million dollars in 2001 (Figure 1; Table 1). Unless otherwise stated, all prices in this note are based on purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates, which reflect the purchasing power of currencies more effectively than do standard exchange rates because they compare the prices of a broader range of local—as opposed to internationally traded—goods and services. Total agricultural R&D capacity has also risen gradually since the cessation of hostilities. In 2009, Sierra Leone employed 72 full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers compared with just 49 in 2001 (Figure 2).