Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 December 2018:
On Tuesday 24 July 2018, members of the Commercial Agricultural Producers and Processors Association (CAPPA) in Sierra Leone met with president Julius Maada Bio at State House, to update the president on how they can support his new direction agenda.
The association’s chairman, Philip Tonks, said that the association is made up of several diverse agricultural companies, joined together by a common voice to tackle the many issues facing the agriculture sector, and to help create an enabling environment for the development of farming value-chains in Sierra Leone.
He highlighted some of the difficulties they face and called on government to address land acquisition processes, high cost of annual environmental licenses, lack of access to markets, poor access to finance and difficulties in setting up commercially viable agri-businesses.
Patrick Blake, the Chief Executive Officer of Dole Foods SL, told the President that their association employs over 12,000 Sierra Leoneans.
He said that the association could employ more people if the government can create the enabling environment for businesses to flourish.
In response, president Bio thanked the team from CAPPA and praised their initiative in pushing and improving the agricultural sector, particularly in exporting products from Sierra Leone.
The president said that his government is fully committed to supporting the activities of CAPPA and help them succeed, by creating a conducive business environment for local products to be exported, increase foreign exchange earnings, and cushion the effects of the current high inflation.