On the margins of the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) in Yokohama, Japan, the Japanese Trading Company, ITOCHU Corporation has signed a financing agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to develop full-scale commercial cultivation and processing of pineapples in the Southern Region in the Republic of Sierra Leone.
ITOCHU, through Dole Asia Holdings (DAH) and its local subsidiary, Sierra Tropical Limited (STL), has commenced their pineapple operations in the Lugbu Chiefdom, Bo district. Already, the company has established nurseries on at least 400 hectares of land (out of 4,335hectares to be leased from the community). The company has employed at least 550 jobs in the area. This is one of SLIEPA’s investment facilitated in recent years in the country, and the Agency is providing a dedicated aftercare service to the company to ensure that the investment achieves its objectives according to plans.
The first phase of the project will cost US$40million and it is estimated to create more than 3,000 jobs. Sierra Tropical Limited will produce packaged fruits for export to Europe, Canada, and the United States of America markets.