The General Manager of the Goldtree Oil Palm Plantation on Friday 30th July 2015 said well planned oil palm investment will yield huge economic boom for Sierra Leone but lamented his company was as yet unable to secure needful funding. Mr. Pieter Van Dessel made this statement during his presentation to the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and Ministry officials at a meeting held at the Goldtree Oil Palm Mill at Daru in the Kailahun District.
The committee was led by Hon. Mohamed K. Tholley and 4 other members including Hon.Saidu B. Kamara, Hon. Stile Jengo, Hon. Daniel B. Koroma and Hon. Abu Jajua. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Lovell C. Thomas, very senior officials from Freetown and pressmen were part of the delegation.
According to the General Manager, Sierra Leone has the potential to heavily rely on oil palm for economic growth and development.
“Sierra Leone is exclusive for oil palm growth” he stated “the climate change, sun, soil and land textures are viable for oil palm especially in Kailahun District” he disclosed.
He disclosed that Sierra Leone is regarded for palm carnal and most countries in Asia including Malaysia are today dedicating their oil palm origin to Sierra Leone. He said if Asians are today making huge profit in oil palm, Sierra Leone can make it but only if people invest in oil palm. He went on; out of 50million tones of oil palm being exported into the world, Asia provides 80% whilst Africa provides little.
“Agriculture can develop your country, it provides cheap food and employment” he told Members of Parliament and team “Sierra Leone should embark on agriculture like Malaysia and Indonesia”.
He said the future of oil palm now lies in Africa because Malaysia, Indonesia and other Asia countries have utilized all their lands whilst Sierra Leone and other African Countries still possessed large percentage of arable lands. He disclosed to the oversight members that Sierra Leone is currently producing 50,000 tons of oil palm per annual but that was not enough for economic growth.
“Nobody can live without oil and therefore investing in oil palm will improve Sierra Leone economy and exportation” he assured.
However the company manager was very frank to inform the Parliamentary Committee and Ministry that they need new investors to support their project. According to him, the current production cost is too high. He said the company has huge future potential and they intend to plant another 5,000 acres if they could secure the funds.
The manager disclosed that they need funds to provide more seedlings, community development planning, and improvement on the project activities as well as supporting out-growers.
He said few years ago, the previous management of the company lost huge money owning to mismanagement but he still believes that there is hope and that is why he abandoned a very big oil palm company in Nigeria to take over here.
The entire delegation was impressed with the goodwill and project planning of the company after the presentation. A short tour on the facility climaxed the event.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.