Turkish investors sign $275 million Sierra Leone rice farming deal

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 September 2019:

The government of Sierra Leone early this week, signed a $275M investment deal with the Turkish SALA Group, for the resumption of largescale Torma Bum rice farming, which is expected to create more than twenty thousand jobs in Sierra Leone.

This will also help alleviate food poverty in the country as well as increase export.

Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security last Monday, signed this important deal with the Turkish food producing giant (SALA) in Freetown.

It is understood that during the first phase of the project, about 54,000 hectares of rice will be cultivated, using the Wanje and the Sewa rivers for sustainable irrigation.

According to reports, the Government of Sierra Leone will not incur any cost in the development and delivery of the project.

This investment will help Sierra Leone achieve food self-sufficiency and save the country more than $200 million in rice importation annually. It will create more than 20,000 jobs for local people.

SALA’s Managing Director, Cemal Dogoa said they are pleased to have signed the deal work with the Government of Sierra Leone.

4 Comments

  1. I hope that this deal is with the full cooperation of local people and land holders in that part of the country. The Turks have already got huge investment in the country with its electricity ship which the capital city is enjoying – a contract that was renewed for the benefit of mama Salone when the SLPP party ascended the throne of governance last year.

    It is a good omen for the people of Sierra Leone when such deal is done with the best interest of the populace, and all stackholders are fuly involved in the negotiation and planning of the unused available lands for agricultural cultivation.

  2. The scepticism being expressed by some about this farming deal with the Turkish company is quite in place. But we do need large scale investment in the agriculture sector to meet our basic needs for the food items which we consume on a daily basis – principally rice. The government just has to ensure that whatever agreement is signed does not consign us to a life of being shackled in our own country, to be treated as second class citizens, which has been the tendency of those who mistake our endearing nature for inferiority complex.

    The only way President Bio can make us comfortable with any such agreement is to be open about it by allowing ordinary Sierra Leoneans to see the contract or agreement and, where need be, to express their opinion. Some of these companies tend to behave cavalierly when dealing with Africans,especially those that tend to treat them like gods. When they run into those that would sooner tell them where to go than listen to any rubbish their behaviour is different.

    It is however salutary to President Bio that he is making a conscious effort to diversify foreign involvement in the economy – it is not all Chinese, who would then be in the unique position to hold us at ransom at will. As we attract foreign investors in the agriculture sector we should encourage our young people studying agriculture to understudy them to place themselves in the position of not only being able to take over from them eventually but to even start their own brand new enterprises on land owned by them in the interior. The Ministries of Agriculture and Education must start doing some honest work in this regard.

  3. Signing a land deal to cultivate 54,000 hectares of rice, using the Wanje and the Sewa river, is another plot made by the government of Sierra Leone to put thousands of landowners and users out of job in Pujehun district. The inhabitants of Pujehun district have suffered a lot from largescale land acquisitions. In 2011 18,424 hectares of land acquired by SOCFIN oil palm oil Company in a controversial manner that negatively warranted the citizens of Shan Malen, Pujehun district.

    In January 2019, land conflicts erupted between community landowners, government security forces and SOCFIN oil palm company, that led to the death of two citizens and eighteen land rights activists including a sitting member of Parliament (Hon Sheika Sama) arrested. The present situation of the people in Sahn Malen chiefdom is precarious. The rights of the people to access food are totally denied and put in inimical circumstances. As of present NO OIL IN AND NO OIL OUT IN Sahn Malen. All the oil in the chiefdom is claimed by SOCFIN Oil Palm Company. The people’s rights to food are denied.

    However, am really afraid this investments deals with the Turkish SALA Group, will not end up like SOCFIN, claiming all the rice in their operational areas even though they meet the people doing subsistence farming in their own little way.
    Investment is about promoting the wellbeing of the people, through the creation of jobs and contribute to the GDP, hence thrive economic growth. But in the Sierra Leone situation, it takes a different paradigm.

    The investment is to enrich the status quo at the disadvantage of the poor citizens (A Case of Sahn Malen chiefdom). Government is just signing deals but do little to repeal land laws that will regulate the behaviours of individuals and investors at the advantage of everyone.

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