Dutch Ambassador visits operational areas of Solidadridad


June 20, 2019

BY: Frederick V. Kanneh

Ambassador Ron Strikkr addressing farmers

The ambassador of the kingdom of the Netherlands to West Africa, who doubles as the sponsor of   Solidaridad Sierra Leone, Ron Strikkr, has on June 18, 2019, made his maiden visitation to the different operational areas within the eastern region in Sierra Leone.

In his statement at the Talia Cocoa Nusery site in the Kenema district, Ron was quick to state the operational mandate of Solidaridad in Sierra Leone.

Among many other functions he stated was that, the organization facilitates sustainable private sector investment in agriculture value chains.

He added that, the organization partners with other actors to develop sustainable agricultural supply chains.

He said the main purpose of his visit was to see at first hand, the progress that Solidaridad Sierra Leone has made in their cocoa and palm oil operations, adding that part of his site visit was also to know the success stories and different challenges faced by farmers during their operations.

“It is good to sponsor programme that contributes to the livelihood of people, and it is also good to monitor the project in order to see where it is making progress and where there are challenges that need fixing,” he said.

Talking to the leader of the Gbaama oil palm plantation sites, Mammie Braima, a 22yr- old lady said that, her group  comprised 32 farmers of which 15 were women and 17 men, and that their farm land was about 15acrs which consisted of 926 oil palm seedlings.

She said although the seedlings were given to them on the condition that they should sell in return all the products to solidaridad and that after four years they should start repaying for the seedlings on yearly bases, but they considered it to be a lifesaving help.

She added that the organisation also gave them groundnut to plant in between the oil palm on the grounds that since it takes up to four years for the oil palm to start its reproduction stage,  it was but fitting to have other crops to make a living from.

“Before now, we found it very difficult to have oil palm seedlings to plant, but with the intervention of solidaridad, we can now get seedlings easily to plant. We have also learn a lot from solidaridad in terms of skills, and above all, they have given us a life term investment for which we are very much grateful to the solidaridad family and its partners,” she said.

The visitation ended up at Benduma, a village very close to Daru in the Kailahun district where farmers welcomed the entire entourage with a well-attended traditional ceremony and the Ambassador and the Country Representative were dressed in traditional attires.

The ambassador was later asked to officially open a newly constructed building referred to as “the Farmers Support Centre for ‘Betteh’ Cocoa.
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The entourage was later taken to the cocoa plantation farm where the Ambassador conducted a ceremonious planting.

The visitation which included the Ambassador, the Programme Officer, the Policy Officer, the engineer from the solidaridad West Africa Head Office in Ghana, together with the government representative from the Ministry Of Agriculture Food And Security, Staff and Partners from  Solidaridad SL ended just after the ceremony at the Benduma villiage.