SOCFIN AGRICULTURAL COMPANY

Socfin Agricultural Company Sierra Leone Ltd is situated in the south eastern part of the country in the Malen Chiefdom in Pujehun District and is part of the Socfin Group who has other agricultural operations in Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Sao Tome and Indonesia. Socfin began operations in Sierra Leone in 2011 and has since established 12,342 hectares of oil palm plantation and infrastructure, investing US$170 million to date.

 

In 2018 the plantation harvested 90,000 tons of Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) and produced 19,300 tons of palm oil and 2,800 tons of kernel through the 30 ton/hr mill. Over 80% of the palm oil was exported within the ECOWAS region whilst the balance was sold into the local market. In 2019 the production of palm oil will reach 26,000 tons as more of the plantation comes into production.

 

Socfin employs over 3,400 people and is one of the largest private employers in Sierra Leone. Additionally Socfin has 9 local contractors carrying out plantation activities which employs an additional 650 people.

 

In 2017 the plantation obtained ISO 14001 certification and aspiring to obtain RSPO certification in the next 3 years. Socfin has a robust Environmental Management System (EMS) and the Company values, respects and protects Environmental High Conservation Value Areas , free, prior and informed consent to lease community land and protection of worker rights and safety.   

 

Socfin has a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program which provides local communities within the concession area and district necessary amenities including building four new schools, refurbishing two other schools in 2017, provision of scholarships, rehabilitation of teachers living quarters, a 200 million Leone micro finance program, new water wells, repair to over 43 wells in 2018, mechanical cultivation of 600 acres for low land rice and 800 acres of IVS, provision of seed, fish ponds, building of community meeting halls and public toilets, 24 hour power and water to Sahn clinic, solar electrification of 2 PHU’s, repair of roads, building and commissioning of a community radio station, support to the local District Council, Chiefdom Administration and police for vehicle repairs and fuel, payment of local chiefdom tax for communities and many other interventions. Socfin continues to be is a leader in agricultural development in Sierra Leone. 

Miro Forestry is a vertically integrated, sustainable forestry and timber products business centered in West Africa. The company operates forestry plantations with over 30,000 hectares of land having commenced planting a mix of fast growing timber crops in 2010. The company has established forestry infrastructure and a proven management team.

 

The company is focused on fast-growing, high-yield plantation timber for the production of sawn timber, utility poles, plywood, and energy biomass for both local and international markets. The company aims to continue delivering both attractive returns to investors as well as significant economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities.

 

The company mixes commercial plantation forestry with the protection and regeneration of indigenous tree species and the promotion of bio-diversity and environmentally sustainable land-use management. The company aims to be a leading, commercial and sustainable plantation business operating to high management, social and environmental standards.

SUNBIRD BIOENERGY (SL) LTD. (SBSL), [formerly known as Addax Bioenergy (SL) Ltd.], is a unique agro-industrial, renewable and sustainable energy project, located in Bombali district of Makeni, in Sierra Leone. It comprises of an estate admeasuring 23,500 hectares, with the primary focus on sugarcane and cassava plantations. Boasting of world-class infrastructural facilities (including 400 Kms of internal roads, 17 Kms of 160 KV power evacuation line to the national grid through 40 pylons, 150 centre pivots irrigation system, 6 water pumping stations, 14 booster stations, state-of-the-art water purification R.O. system, housing, and the like); along with a twin boiler operated 32 MW Biomass Power Plant, supplying power to the national grid; and a 380,000 Litres per day Bio-Ethanol Plant, capable of producing diverse use ethanol types, including fuel-grade ethanol; this multi-million dollar project can truly be construed as ‘Pride of the Nation’.

 

SBSL has embarked upon an aggressive programme of sugarcane cultivation in the 2018-19 season. From the existing 2,000 hectares (Ha) under sugarcane, at present, the area is being exponentially increased to 6,000 Ha; with plans to add another 4,000 to 5,000 Ha in the seasons thereafter. Besides providing increased employment opportunities, this will not only provide more bagasse biomass for consistent and increased power production but also more syrup for ethanol and sugar, going forward.

 

From its earlier days of dependence on a single source (sugarcane), single product (fuel-grade ethanol), and a single market (Europe); the current emphasis is to transcend and leap-frog SBSL, by 2020-21, into a multi-source (different varieties of sugarcane, elephant grass, hybrid Napier grass brought from overseas for cultivation, different varieties of cassava, other multiple crops like ginger, turmeric, sesame, etc.), multi-product (power generation using multiple bio-feedstock, ethanol, sugar, native starch, ENA), and a multi-market (domestic, ECOWAS, Europe – having both locational and European import duty advantages) entity, thereby not only facilitating large scale Import Substitution but also generating increased Export Earnings for the country.

SBSL continuously employs over 350 persons. For 6 to 8 months in a year, the numbers go up to between 5,000 and 8,000 during the harvesting/dry season, creating employment opportunities to direct and indirect seasonal workers; with a further increase to 10,000 or more on the anvil, owing to the increased hectarage under cultivation, as envisaged. This has a positive cascading effect of feeding nearly 80,000 to 100,000 mouths!

Besides the envisioned employment opportunities to such high numbers as indicated earlier, and being able to put cash into people’s pockets for harvesting and selling (instead of burning) their grass, the company has been creating a huge GDP Multiplier effect and additionally, undertaking, inter alia, the following:

 

FDP (Farmers’ Development Programme) providing support for inputs like land preparation, seed, etc. and FDS (Farmers’ Development Service) which entails hiring out agricultural equipment, as and when available, at cost, to communities of all the 53 villages falling under the company’s land jurisdiction

 

Providing Boreholes, Clinic and Toilets, in certain blocks

 

Laying out Road network and constructing Community Buildings in certain blocks

 

Providing Classroom and School furniture to Lungi Acre School

 

Providing on-the-job training and mentoring, up skilling and teaching modern methods of agriculture and machine/equipment maintenance and management to the community people; in addition to encouraging out growers’ program for engendering self-confidence

 

Constantly communicating with the Chiefs and community people through formal and informal meetings and more particularly, the monthly Village Liaison Cluster Meetings

 

Engaging in continuous dialogue and propagating the environmental hazards and negative impact of burning grass (which results detrimentally in increasing the carbon footprint), lack of adherence to proper sanitation practices, and the like

 

Creating awareness of the modern day taboos and harmful effects of ‘in-vogue’ but undesirable habits e.g. smoking and use of allotropic drugs/substance abuse

 

Hosting of social events like football tournaments and allowing the use of beaches for social gatherings

 

Routinely carrying out water sprinkling during the dry months, on estate roads, to mitigate the effect of dust pollution

 

Uplifting and enhancing the overall quality of life, commensurate with the general development of the entire area, causing a positive rub-off effect to other areas in the vicinity.

Natural Habitats Group (NHG) has a long-standing proven track record in producing sustainable Organic, Fair Trade and RSPO certified palm oil forefront of developing the sustainable smallholder farming model. A large and highly experienced group Sustainability and Certification department is dedicated to certifying new and exisiting farmers. This is a highly complex, detailed and comprehensive procedure that enables NHG to guarantee the quality of its produce throughout its supply chain.

NHG started operations in Ecuador, where independent farmers with plantations from 5-30 hectares in approximately 7,000 ha have been supported with technical assistance, capacity building and have been incorporated into an integrated global supply chain.

To expand its operations and diversify its supply geographically, NHG decided to set up a new organic production in West Africa. In 2014, NHG established the company Natural Habitats Sierra Leone Limited (NHSL) and took over Nedoil Limited in Yele, thereby acquiring a small palm oil mill with a productive capacity of 3 tonnes of fresh fruit per hour.

NedOil’s operations are in Yele, roughly in the centre of Sierra Leone. It has four model oil palm plantations. However, the bulk of its oil palm fruits come from over 1,800 independent smallholders. The company has successfully supported these independent smallholders in participating in an Internal Control System (ICS) scheme, trained them in organic farming methods and obtaining an organic certification (EU and NOP) in 2015. In early 2018, a total of 2,500 farmers will be certified with the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard. This will be a major first for Sierra Leone!

We are also operating near the town of Zimmi, in the Southern Province, where we are building a truly sustainable, organic and RSPO nucleus plantation. The plantation is being built using manual land preparation techniques in order to preserve the valuable organic matter in the top soil, to reduce the chance of soil erosion and to partner with the communities and to offer more employment opportunities. Through continued investment in both organic palm production and community social programs, Natural Habitats will continue to expand positive economic impact among the people of Sierra Leone and create environmental benefits through the conversion of existing conventional land to organic. Natural Habitats Sierra Leone Limited is very proud that we were operating and supported local communities during the Ebola crisis of 2014-15.  We have developed a respected partnership with the communities and people of these two distinct areas of the country.

The key principles of NHG are: behave with integrity, embrace diversity, committed to transparency, innovate to excel, empower people, encourage collaboration, share passion for organic, enjoy what we do and have fun. 

Sierra Land Development is an agricultural service provider that focuses on the development of agricultural land and farm infrastructure. The company was established in 2013 as a spin-off of Genesis Farms which has operated in Sierra Leone since 2008 as a commercial farm and seed breeding program focusing on rice, sorghum and other crops.

 

Although Sierra Leone provides an abundance of arable land, a major share is heavily overgrown as a result of many years of neglect. Due to a lack of land development equipment, farmers are constrained to ‘slash and burn’ farming. Land that is cleared in this way will lose its soil fertility with a declining yield as a result. Sierra Land Development develops bush that was previously slashed and burned, transforming it into agricultural land in a sustainable way.

 

With its high-tech equipment including GPS guided mulchers, stumpgrinders, bulldozers, ploughs, harrows, landplanes and bed cultivators, Sierra Land Development is an enabler for Sierra Leone’s agricultural industry and food security. By taking care of land development, Sierra Land Development allows agricultural businesses to focus on their core business: primary production. As the Minister of Agriculture remarked at the establishment of Sierra Land Development: land development is the ‘A in the ABC of agriculture’. Without proper land development, the agricultural industry cannot lift itself to the next level. Up until the establishment of Sierra Land Development, agriculture often started with ‘B’, namely primary production while the land had not been properly developed.

 

The customer base of Sierra Land Development consists of a combination of international businesses and local enterprises, with a diversity of crops ranging from rice to root vegetables, fruit and oil palm. As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility program, Sierra Land Development develops land for smallholders at a reduced rate, helping them to control weeds and increase yields. For more information on Sierra Land Development and its projects, please visit www.sierraland.sl.

Goldtree is located near Daru in Kailahun District in Sierra Leone’s Eastern Province. Incorporated in 2007, Goldtree has succeeded in rehabilitating an abandoned palm oil mill and plantation as well as reviving the oil palm industry in the province. Apart from Goldtree’s own nucleus plantation, the business invests in local enterprises by purchasing fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from outgrower farmers within a 40 km radius of the mill. This supports thousands of families in the rural community and ensures that they receive a fair price for their product.

 

The mill processes the fresh fruit bunches into crude palm oil (CPO), and palm kernel oil (PKO). The rapid transition from a defunct mill to an operational plant was made possible with the support and assistance of three investment sources – the African Agriculture Fund (AAF), the Goldtree founder (Pan-African Agribusiness Limited) and the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (Finnfund). The investment has funded a nursery for improved hybrid seedlings, a new mill, workshops, offices, housing, vehicles and equipment, and working capital for ongoing operations.

PROJECTS

SIERRA TROPICAL LTD

Sierra Tropical Ltd, part of the well-known international food company DOLE, is in the process of setting up and establishing a large pineapple plantation and later, a processing facility, to manufacture pineapple fruit juice, concentrate and various canned goods for export.

 

The farm and processing facility will be situated in the Bo district, close to the village of Sumbuya. The first phase of establishing a 4300ha plantation started in October and the planting of the first plants will begin in January 2018. To handle the fruit from the plantation, a processing plant will be built and begin production during 2021. A 40ha nursery has already been established to provide planting materials for the new farm at Sumbuya and to run tests to ensure our pineapples were well suited to Sierra Leone conditions.

 

The production of pineapples is a labour-intensive operation. As the plantation grows and the cannery is established, Sierra Tropical Ltd will create some 4000 jobs in both the field and cannery. There will be many skilled jobs created in support, which will lead to training opportunities to allow us to train and qualify Sierra Leoneans to fill the various positions.

 

Sierra Tropical Ltd will require different fruit for their products which will include Papaya and Mango. This will present additional opportunities for Sierra Leonean farmers to grow and supply fruit for our products.

 

We are working closely with the various communities and Tribal authorities around the new plantation, with regard employment, community development initiatives and environmental issues to ensure harmonious relationships and sustainable development to the benefit of everyone involved.      

In advance of a comprehensive refurbishment and commencement of long-term operations, Sierra Agra management authorized the processing of a full mango season, along with small scale productions of pineapple, coconut and orange.  Our long-term social impact business plan includes the full-scale refurbishment and expansion of the AFJ plant as a critical component in the first stage of Project 10,000.  Sierra Agra is the only fruit processing plant in Sierra Leone that has exported juice products.

 

Sierra Agra’s goal is to elevate the agribusiness sector in Sierra Leone, combining a strong commercial business with the ability to improve the lives of thousands of people. By processing high volumes of fruit, we advance the livelihoods and living conditions of socially and economically disadvantaged low-income Sierra Leoneans located predominantly in rural arable farming communities.

Headquartered in Makeni, Mel-O Africa Ltd. is a USDA NOP and EU organic certified company started in 2013 by Curt and Darcy Reiss, former owners of a honey packing company in the US.  With the belief that “good business is doing good”, and the conviction that the best way to lift people out of poverty is through profitable business, Mel-O Africa was established as a Sierra Leone company with the purpose of giving subsistence farmers an additional source of income through beekeeping.  In addition to teaching beekeeping skills, Mel-O Africa provides the market, purchasing honey for export.

 

Mel-O has trained over 5000 farmers in organic, sustainable methods of beefarming, obtaining organic certification in 2017.  The only company to export shipping containers of honey from Sierra Leone with the first shipment in 2014.

 

In 2019, Mel-O has begun working towards exporting raw cashew nuts, another income generating crop for farmers.  Mel-O is buying cashew from existing plantations, as well as promoting the planting of new crop. We have provided seeds and training for two cashew nurseries which have been transplanted into orchards. 1500 cashew farmers will be organically certified in 2019.  Mel-O Africa has a current full-time staff of 12, adding up to 30 seasonal employees during harvest and processing, and providing income to 2000+ subsistence farmers in rural Sierra Leone.  

 


Bengal Agro (SL) limited is a 100% Organic Commercial Agriculture Company established in Sierra Leone for production, processing (value addition) and marketing of ginger, turmeric and other gricultural products. 


Objectives


To create employment for the citizens, especially youths of the country. 


To improve the livelihood of small holder farm families through income generating activities.


Conserve much needed foreign exchange through export of the products.  

Help in complementing government’s efforts in its national food security programs.

 

Establish Agricultural infrastructure for training of small farmers on commercial agriculture and modern farming techniques to increase yields.


The project is situated near Lunsar in the Port Loko district, Northern Province of the country has been selected as the main operational site for the production and processing (value addition) of these crops. The Company is certified by Eco cert USA as an Organic and non GMO products. Bengal Agro (SL) limited has at present 1680 acres (680 hectares) of land for production, processing, storage, piloting and demonstration plots for its own.

Modern agriculture methods and techniques have been implemented to develop the soil fertility as well as to increase production. The company intends to install its own processing factory for the food crops processing in Sierra Leone.

 

© 2019

KIT/CDT/PT