Solidaridad engages farmers on oil palm policy

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Stakeholders and participants posed for photo

By Mohamed J Kargbo

Solidaridad, an international civil society organization with 54 years in development solution to make commodities more commercial in the world, on Wednesday, 15th November , at the Sierra Palm Hotel, commenced a two-day  workshop for farmers and business stakeholders, to discuss and validate the oil palm policy and it  implementation plan.

Delivering his keynote address via zoom, the Regional Director of Solidaridad West Africa, Isaac Jeffrey, thanked all participants and facilitators for  organizing the workshop on the validation of the policy on oil palm framework.

He said it was his desire to come to Freetown to support the event, but because of work he had no choice but to address via zoom.

He said  Solidaridad West Africa appreciates the Government of Sierra Leone for their long time effective and fruitful partnership, and that developing a sector framework  was a partway to actualizing  the policy.

 He said the implementation is very crucial for them as an organization and the country Sierra Leone as well.

Director Jeffrey continues to say that Sierra Leone is a large consumer of crude palm oil, which manifests the importance of the oil palm industry in the country.

 He said Solidaridad, through their partnership with the government, partners and farmers in the last seven years, has contributed to the enactment of some other policy and documents.

He said they have worked so hard with the local partners to push for voluntary standards through which framework they worked with various government institutions that gave birth to the Costmary Amendment Act of 2022.

He said they as an organization could put some resources at the disposal of government and their partners for the development of the oil palm value chain policy and implementation plan.

He said his organization was providing technical assistance under a program funded by the Dutch Government.

He said sustainability is only when producers, workers, the people who produce the raw materials in all supply chain, are  able to address their needs and eradicate poverty and make sure there is human right.

Edward Momodu, a representative from the Produce Monitoring Board, said farmers play a vital role in the production of palm oil.

He said  the exporter of palm oil also play a role in the process  because if they don’t export it, nothing like forex will come into the country.

“We all know that the country is suffering with forex, so that is why the  organisation is working with the Bank of Sierra Leone, so  that every exporting commodity should at least brings 30% of the proceeds. Not that the money is going to the government but to the banking system for us to have more forex,” he said .

He commended the organization for their work and noted that, apart from cocoa; oil palm is the biggest sector in Sierra Leone that is boosting the country’s economy.

He said everything about oil palm tree is economical and it produces oil and fiber.

He ended by saying that it takes time and effort for the organization to validate the policy.

Andrew Kojo Morrison,Country Representative for  Solidaridad in Sierra Leone, said the event was a landmark event, especially  validating the above mentioned policy.

He said that was the first oil palm policy for Sierra Leone and that he was happy as they were validating the document.

He said the consultant went round the district of Sierra Leone to take input from various people in the sector, and that the event was for them to put all documents together and gather all the stakeholders in the sector to look at the documents.

He said the policy gave direction as to how a sector should go, adding that for the oil palm policy he hoped that key elements and objectives should be achieved through the validation process with the implementation plan attached to it.

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