With support from the Smallholder Commercialization and Agribusiness Development Project (SCADeP), the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) has ended the final phase of SCADeP supported Aftercare mission in the Eastern Region. The visit which targeted agribusiness companies operating in the in the Region, spanned from the 20th -22nd May, 2021.
The Smallholder Commercialization and Agribusiness Development Project (SCADeP) seeks to promote agricultural productivity through improved access to markets, improved access to finance as well as development of inclusive smallholder farmer agribusiness linkages in the targeted project areas of Sierra Leone.
Speaking during an interview with the SLIEPA Acting Director of Investment Promotion, Mr. Victor Bangura, he explained that their agency is charged with the responsibility to promote investment and develop export. He said that, the emergence of COVID-19 saw the scaling dawn of companies and now that the disease is reducing, he said, they visited companies across the country to understand their operational projection in terms of investment capital, expansion, jobs created, Social impact project within the communities and also their challenges in order to seek redress mechanism to them.
During an engagement with the Lizard Earth Organic Cacao Company in Kenema, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Daniel Scholler, stated that, after the effect of COVID-19 on their business, they were back on their fit running to help the country and farmers to improve the cocoa sector; he said that, mechanisms have been put in place to continue their operations as they are working towards setting up a chocolate factory in Kenema City.
Whilst Mr. Jeffrey B. Benzin, the Manager of Goldtree, explained the impact of COVID-19 on their company, it was realized that they all shared similar experiences with the outbreak. However, he asserted that they are doing their best to conquer their challenges generally; noting that, they are in cordial working relationship with the community people. Goldtree is a company based in Daru that cultivate and process palm fruit for local and international markets.
Also, Capitol Limited, a company based in Kenema that exports cocoa, coffee and as well produces variety of soft drinks, highlighted their challenges and successes. Among other things, they mentioned that they are on the verge of producing cocoa liquor in Kenema Town. They said that the factory will create more jobs for the locals.
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