Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 October 2021:
Last Saturday in Kenema, President Dr Julius Maada Bio was guest of honour at the formal opening of a cocoa processing factory by Capitol Foods in Tissor Village – with an annual production capacity of 4,000 metric tons.
Although Sierra Leone has been growing large quantities of cocoa for export, this is the first cocoa processing factory in the country and will create employment for dozens of local people.
Capitol Foods is a fruit and food processing company, currently developing the first natural fruit processing and bottling company in the country with a mission, according to its leadership, to become the leading firm in the agri-industrial sector in the country.
Co-founder and CEO of Capitol Foods Limited, Hamza Hashim, said his company is one of the earliest post-war cocoa traders and exporters that is still playing a crucial role in reviving the flagging cocoa and coffee sector in Sierra Leone.
He added that with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and through the Sierra Leone Agribusiness Development Fund, SLADF, they have conducted training for 2,831 farmers on several topics including best agricultural practices, integrated pest control, and disease management technics.
“In 2018, Capitol secured a $600,000 grant from SLADF towards financing and improving yields and quality standards. The project aims at working with rural farmers to improve their yields, in addition to establishing a Cocoa Mass Processing Line which will improve the value of products and improve prices for the farmers,” he said.
Executive Chairman of the country’s Produce Marketing Board, SLPMB, Dr James Vibbi, said he is happy to witness progress at the first cocoa processing factory in the country, adding that the factory would add more value to cocoa production for the international market. He further noted that the government is planning to have one factory in each of the districts of the country.
“Your Excellency, this factory can produce an annual capacity of 4,000 metric tons that can serve both the local and export market. It will provide employment opportunities and bring further development to the local community,” he stated.
President Bio said the construction of the factory will contribute to the Human Capital Development drive of the nation, and called on other private sector actors to begin to think of processing local produce in the country.
President Bio further stated that he is happy to see that such development is happening during his tenure as leader, and expressed hope that those efforts would lead to the transfer of skills, develop the locality, and above all, generate more revenue for the country.
“This factory will add value to the cocoa business. It is good for our country and economy. I thank you for taking this giant step. God bless you,” CEO of Capitol Foods Limited, Hamza Hashim.