The Independent Media Commission (IMC) has conducted a snapping Site visit at the Socfin Agricultural Company (SAC) in the Sahn Maleh Chiefdom, Pujehun District on the 23rd. of June, 2016.
Abu Amara one of the Managers at Socfin revealed that a total amount of over Le.31 Billion was paid to land owners in land compensation for economic trees and the total concession area is 18,481Ha (45,647 acres) for which an annual Lease payment is paid amounting to 1,323,800,000 Leone (US$228,236) every year, however only 12,319Ha is been utilized by the plantation.
He said the company has employs over 2,460 seasoned workers to support the plantations as well as 1,091 permanent workers, amounting to 3,551 workers; most of the workers are from the surrounding communities in the plantation areas.
The Manager of the Plant Engineer Akwasi Adu Boahen said that the construction of the Mill and supporting facilities commenced in 2012 and the Mill was completed in 2015, he added; that the Mill systems are in limited operation as they currently being tested and optimized.
Ing Adu Boahen stated that the Mill has the capacity to process thirty (30) tonnes of FFB per hour, citing that the power for the Mill is provided by a steam boiler that runs on fiber and shell from the FFB and steam is used for processing and to run a 1.2MW power generator, Crude Palm Oil is stored in tanks on site and the CPO oil tank capacity is 4,200 tonnes.
The Social and Grievance Committee was created in 2012 to ensure transparency in grievances process and to represent all stakeholders of the Malen Chiefdom, (Town and Section Chiefs, District Representatives, Woman and Youth Leaders, etc), the Chairman of this Committee is the Paramount Chief P.C.B.V.S. Kebbie 3.
This Committee selected a sub-committee who is in charge of the proposition, prioritization and planning of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Projects discussed with Socfin during the monthly meetings.
In 2015, a total amount of Le. 3,777,233,000 was expensed in the construction and refurbishment of roads, water wells, Barry’s Healthy Posts, Schools, Community Rice Production, school teacher and schools support and other CSR projects.
The 63 Communities located inside the concession are supported through sensitization programs and development projects through SOCFIN’s “Corporate Social Responsibilities” program, these communities are protected by a Green Belt left around the village to separate them from the plantation activities and reduce the potential disturbance.
The extension of the Health Centre of Sahn Malen ended in December 2015, the building was officially opened by the District Medical Officer (Dr. Bome) from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the Centre employs a full-time Clinic Health Officer and Nursing Staff.
The extension building of 250 m comprises 12 rooms with laboratories (with blood draw), 2 doctor offices, 1 nurse office, I consultancy room, 1 VIP room, 1 meeting room, 1 drugstore, 1 archive room and 1 pay centre and SOCFIN provides the Health Center of Sahn Malen with 24hrs power supply.
SOCFIN subsidized Medical Care for workers and families and has recently built a new wing for administration, stores, laboratory and Doctors consulting room.
Communication and Coverage, the Mobile Phone Communication has been improved greatly and is covering today the whole of the Chiefdom as SOCFIN engaged Africell to install two antennas (25 meters high) at Jao Junction (North) and at the Hill Station, and part of this agreement is that SOCFIN provides power to the two towers and SOCFIN provides free lines to all key staff for internal communication between staff.
In 2016, 43 SOCFIN scholarships has been awarded for students with an aggregate of 30 or under in their BECE results.
In 2014, SOCFIN built a Mosque for the Community people of Sahn Malen, this building of 13m x27m is divided into two (women hall and men hall) and comprises the Imam’s office, a store for electrical room and three porches, public toilets and a well was also built next to the mosque.
SOCFIN has provided leisure areas by making football fields and providing football for communities and schools, cleaning areas for market space for the selling of food and goods.
SOCFIN has built Canteen for the communities and the canteen is a project (218m2) ended in Match 2015 which is currently managed by Socfin Welfare Association, this entertainment centre is provided with DSTV, music and power for the meeting and relaxation of Socfin workers.
RICE PRODUCTION one of the most important initiatives of the CSR program is developing community programs to ensure food security.
This is done by mechanized farming practices by pouching and harrowing wetlands (Boilands) for rice and the development of in land valley swamps (IVS), Provision of tools, seeds and expertise is made to communities to assist.
SOCFIN supports the establishment of Community Fish Ponds by the provision of tools and food for work for building of the ponds and additionally Socfin purchases fingerlings, food provides technical advice as Socfin employs an expert on aquaculture.
SOCFIN started micro credit with a fund of Le.25 Million and addition, local initiatives are promoted such as the purchase of Socfin’s uniforms to a tailor of Sahn Malen amounting to over Le.175 Million to this one local supplier alone.
SOCFIN provides support to Pujehun District Council, the Police, District Officer and the Local Chiefdom Administration in vehicle repairs and provision of fuel, a generator was donated to the Police Station in Pujehun and recently the supply and repair of the electrical cables has been done and also electrical repairs to the District Council office and hospital has also been done and they are getting 24 power supply.
Socfin is engaged in projects of Forest Protection, Reforestation and Afforestation within the concession area, the plantation comprises 91 Ha of Protected Forest and 41 Ha has been reforested in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security.
One of the managers at Socfin Madam Celine Schntz revealed that her company is purely concern about the environmental issues and also the welfare being of the people in the communities.
Principal of Malen Junior Secondary School Mohamed J.D. Makeya said Socfin has done a lot for his school, he cited the huge jobs Socfin has created for thousands of Sierra Leonean, especially the indigenes of Sahn Maleh Chiefdom and adding that the company had given the communities a facelift, people can boast of good roads network, medical facility, 24/7 electrical power supply, pure borne water, standard toilet facility, he maintained that Socfin has constructing eight setter toilet and also refurbished water well for the and paid scholarships for pupils in my school.
According to the Country Representative Mr. Gerben Haringsma said the entire investment of Socfin is US$110 Milllion Project and he disclosed that more investment are on the way coming to Sierra Leone.
Read the original article here: http://www.globaltimes-sl.com/socfin-has-invested-us110m-in-malen-chiefdom/