DEVELOPING INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES
Purpose and Achievements
CAPPA member companies joined together in 2016 to create an Association to bring together a common voice to tackle the many issues facing the agriculture sector and to improve the enabling environment for agricultural in Sierra Leone. Many CAPPA member companies are still in their start up and establishment phases and look for direction and guidance to reach their intended investment and goals. CAPPA a privately funded Association has brought agricultural producers and processors together and in 2017 successfully finalized the negotiations with the Trade Union Council in concluding the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement.
Currently CAPPA members have leased and secured 74,000 hectares of land for their operations with over 22,300 hectares already established and coming into production.
Agri-business key to Economic Growth
Agri-business and agri-processing is essential to the development of Sierra Leone to bring economic growth to the rural areas of the country which predominantly operates at a subsistence level today. CAPPA member companies are situated in the rural heart lands of Sierra Leone creating employment and improving the essential basic needs through their investments and Corporate Social Responsibility projects.To date over US$ 800 million has been invested by CAPPA members creating more than 11,560 jobs of which more than 30% are women. Lack of available technical skills in the country is a hindrance to development and many companies have started training and preparing Sierra Leoneans to fill skilled positions. Presently over 980 people have been trained in various technical skills to allow CAPPA members to operate and manage their plantations and processing plants.
Ensuring the long term future and prosperity of the sector requires investing in people to provide the skill sets needed to manage agricultural and agri-processing operations. All CAPPA members now have Sierra Leoneans in their management teams and this will increase as more experience and skills are developed and that integrity is seen and understood to be an essential element of private sector requirements.
Opportunities and Challenges
Sierra Leone has potential to become a significant player in agricultural production and agri-processing. Climatic conditions are suitable for a variety of crops, with large opportunities for irrigation projects. Most importantly an enabling environment must be created to allow the agriculture sector to grow which today barely exists but is improving. CAPPA places itself to act on behalf of its members to dialogue with stakeholders to break barriers and improve the enabling environment for agri-business in the country. Institutions such as SLIEPA and SLECAD also play an important role.
Sierra Leone faces many challenges in the agricultural sector, namely: a difficult land leasing process, high cost of annual environmental licenses, difficult, cumbersome and costly importation and exportation process, unclear and poor clarity in legislation, lack of transparency, poor access to markets, poor access to finance, commercial agri-businesses prone to focused criticism by unscrupulous CSO's and NGO's.
Real Sustainable Changes
CAPPA members have Community Development Programs and Corporate Social Responsibility projects as part of their commitment to investing in Sierra Leone assisting Government in improving essential services in rural communities. Many of these interventions include the improvement in health, education, water and sanitation, infrastructure and roads, food security and developing other forms of revenue generations. Interventions include out-grower schemes, micro credit, assisted (provision of seeds and mechanical cultivation) and improved cropping techniques, fish farming, building and repair of schools, school scholarships schemes, new water wells and ongoing repairs to existing water wells, improved health support facilities with electrification of clinics and support to local and district authorities. There are many other smaller interventions made from supporting community football games, support to school sports fixtures, feeding and transport for school children to attend exams to name a few.
Additional economic opportunities are being created by supporting local artisans and contractors providing income to more than 3,600 people and up to 22,000 families in out-grower programs.
CAPPA was formed in 2016 several commercial agricultural companies operating in various areas of the country producing and processing, or in the process of doing so, bio fuels and energy, palm oil, timber, rice, seed sorghum, agri-machinery contracting services, growing and canning pineapples and processing and manufacture of fruit concentrates. CAPPA membership is open to any commercial agri-business and processing company. CAPPA aims to act as the principal coordinating body representing all Commercial, Agricultural Producers and Processing companies in Sierra Leone.