Socfin Agricultural Company (SAC), the largest oil palm plantation owner in Sierra Leone is accelerating its original vision of establishing the largest oil palm production facility in West Africa in a bid to make very impressionable contributions to the economic growth of Sierra Leone.
This endeavor has been manifested as the company is nearing completion of its expanded US$27 million oil palm processing factory situated at Kotumahun village in Sahn Malen Chiefdom, Pujehun district, southern Sierra Leone.
Commenting on the development, Plant Manager, Akwasi Adu Boahem, said the expansion is a sustainable, environmentally friendly economic venture that is in line with RSPO international standards.
When fully completed by September this year, the expanded SAC’s Sahn Malen oil palm mill will be the largest in West Africa.
The new mill which has modern facilities and high quality state-of-the-art equipment has the capacity to process thirty to sixty four tons of palm kernel per hour.
In terms of contributing to employment in the country, the mill will eventually employ 340 skilled and unskilled personnel. Currently 170 are fully employed supported by 1, 000 casual laborers.
The mill will produce an unlimited quantity of edible palm oil and employ the transport industry; with two local and one Malaysian contractor on site.
Major shareholder and Board member, Gerben Haringsma said after eleven years of investing, SAC Ltd will start making profit next year.
General Manager, Phillip Tonks reassured all of the company’s continued performance of its corporate social responsibilities.
Host Paramount Chief Brima V. S. Kebbie and the Chiefdom Speaker assured land owning families that SAC is here to stay and will continue to live up to its obligations; noting that one cannot do anything without something but that with a little one can do a lot and that a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.
It can be recalled that in 2009, after visiting Socfin’s plantation in Liberia, Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Agriculture officials called on Socfin – a member of the French group Bolloré, to help develop industrial -scale oil palm plantation in Sierra Leone to reduce dependency on imports and increase export earnings.
The Government of Sierra Leone and Socfin agreed on a suitable site at Sahn Malen.
A bottom-up consultation process was initiated with all stakeholders: growers, landowners, traditional chiefs, and community leaders.
After receiving formal consent from the majority of local people in the Sahn Malen community, 18 000 hectares was identified for the project, of which only 12, 500 hectares would be planted.
Once the project was in place, agricultural works started in 2011: nursery development and gradual replanting of 12,500 hectares of palm plantations.
In 2015 the oil mill was constructed, with the aim of becoming the main palm oil supplier on the domestic market and one of the country’s biggest employers.
The cooperation between the government and the Socfin Group enables the introduction of new agricultural techniques, which ensures the implementation of a soil fertilization program, including the introduction of cover crops on depleted soils and agricultural capacity building.
In April 2016, former President Ernest Bai Koroma, commissioned the Socfin mill.
GM Phillip Tonks informed the audience that SOCFIN has already injected an investment of over US$130 Million.
Post date: February, 04, 2020
By : The Satellite News