Women’s cooperative marketing of value- added Mangrove Oyster products in Sierra Leone (TRUST)


GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Awards Round 1


Sierra Leone



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About the project

UK-registered Partner: University of Stirling – Alexandra Pounds
Africa-registered Partner: Sherbro Women’s Oyster Marketing Association (SWOMA) – Aminata Foday

In Bonthe District, Sierra Leone, women harvest oysters from mangroves, which are steamed and/or smoked then sold in community marketplaces. Production is seasonal, occurring from January through May annually. In this project, we aimed to:

  1. Understand the livelihood and food security impacts of oyster production in Bonthe District;
  2. Understand resource sharing and institutional engagement patterns of oyster producers;
  3. Develop the capacity of the SWOMA team for field research;
  4. Promote SWOMA’s reputation within the community through supporting their presence and networking as oyster marketing experts.

Our key findings were that:

  1. Oyster producers’ consume their own oysters more frequently than non-producers, thus oyster harvesting is providing a source of nutrition;
  2. The average ‘Household Food Insecurity Access Score’ (HFIAS) was better during the oyster harvesting season across all people and was better for oyster producers than non- producers regardless of season;
  3. Oyster producers believed that oyster production was important for financial and subsistence reasons;
  4. The main challenge to oyster production was poor access to canoes, particularly due to theft;
  5. Radio and word-of-mouth were the most popular ways the community obtain information;
  6. Informal community-based institutions have higher levels of engagement than more formalised institutions, and are perceived positively by the community as effective institutions.

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