The Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) on the 23rd and 24th August 2019, witnessed another signing of Lease Agreement, Deed of Acknowledgement and Crop Compensation Agreements between Sierra Tropical Limited (STL), land owners and relevant stakeholders in Sumbuya, Lugbu Chiefdom, Bo District.
STL is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dole Asia Holdings, establishing pineapple plantation and planning to set up an agro-processing facility in Sumbuya. SLIEPA has been working with STL since its inception; making significant contributions to the facilitation of its establishment.
According to Miss Isatu Jalloh, one of the lawyers representing the company, the signing of these agreements is a continual process until they reach the targeted land verified for the said agreements. She noted that the agreement covers about thirty four plots owned by about thirty families; concluding that the Company embarked on series of community sensitizations in relation to the land agreement and its operations so that the land owners could make informed decisions.
The Acting Marketing and Communication Director, Mr. Francis Minah, spoke on the role of SLIEPA in the land agreement process; saying that SLIEPA is the representative of the Government serving the interest of both STL and the land owners to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the process going forward. He encourage them to continue maintaining the good relationship and to channel their grievances to SLIEPA for its timely intervention leading to amicable resolution.
In his speech, the Regent Chief of Lugbu Chiefdom, Chief Modiboh Fofana, described the relationship between the Community and the Company as a cordial one; saying that they as stakeholders want their Chiefdom to develop as the presence of the Company is improving the economic and social life of a good number of their people.
The lawyer representing the land owning families, Mr. Pawusu Bangura, confirmed that the process was very transparent, because it was participatory: involving all relevant stakeholders. He called on the community people to continue banking on them for adequate representation since they have been with them since inception.
Mr. Sheku Sheriff, a land owner in Moforay Lugbu, noted that their family has signed for a total of three hundred and sixteen hectares for fifty years. According to him, the establishment of STL in their community is positively transforming the lives of many indigenes as he is as well an employee of the Company. Mariatu Dawa also reiterated that STL is doing well in their community; wishing that the relationship continues to be good.
The signing of the said agreements occurred in the presence of the Lugbu Chiefdom Authorities, STL lawyers, the lawyer representing the land owners and SLIEPA as one of the witnesses.