As COVID-19 Keeps Showing Up, Agribusinesses in Bo City Discuss Its Challenges with SLIEPA
24 Jun 2020
A team of The Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) Staff on the 19th June 2020, concluded an engagement with selected Agribusinesses in Bo City on the state of their businesses and the impact of Covid-19 on their operations.
When introducing the team, the Officer in Charge of the SLIEPA Southern Region Office, Mrs. Habibatu Shyllon, said the visit was a check on the status of their businesses during such a trying moment. She explained that, SLIEPA has a prodigious interest in the sustainability of their operations because of their ability to create jobs and to make meaningful contributions to the economic growth of the country for which the SLIEPA Regional Office has always been at their service, she said.
While making his submission, the Deputy Director, Head of Provinces, Mr. Alex J. Mammy, extended gratitude from the SLIEPA CEO, Mr. Sheku Lexmond Koroma, to the business people. He thanked them for holding on amidst the COVID-19 challenges, which have levied a devastating effect on not only the business community, but also on other sectors. He went on to highlight some of the activities and operations of the Agency in relation to supporting investment and export in Sierra Leone. On behalf of the CEO, he pledged the Agency’s support to their investments and introduced Mrs. Shyllon as the new Officer in Charge of the SLIEPA Southern Region Office.
Among other speakers, Mr. Salam Koroma, the Environmental Officer of Family Poultry in Bo, said COVID-19 has gravely affected their business. According to him, getting improved seeds, the limited supply of fertilizer in the market coupled with the Social Distancing syndrome has led to the reduction in the number of their maize out growers from 450 to 300, which has a rippling effect on the production of feed for the birds.
He also noted that, the availability of vaccines, which they used to get mostly from Guinea, was another constrain because of these challenges, he said, 200 of their
2000 birds have died and the production of eggs has dropped drastically from 1,217 eggs par day to less than 600 eggs per day. Hence, he pleaded with SLIEPA to come to their aid in this difficult time.
The Director of Barry Pour Honey also known as PADSL (People’s Agenda for Development Sierra Leone), Mr. Steven Mansaray, told SLIEPA that two of their main ordeals as a result of the Coronavirus are access to market and to their bee famers living in other districts, as the latter, he said, has made their harvesting period already elapsed. According to him, their current capacity of production is halve a ton per every six month, which will sum up to a ton by the end of the year, and it keeps increasing according to the number of hives. Mr. Mansaray explained that they do not only produce honey with high quality of 18% moisture content, but from the honey bee, they also manufacture cream, mosquito repellant, and still working on making wood polish. He therefore encouraged SLIEPA to help create market linkage for their products.
In another engagement, the SLIEPA Team, met with Mr. Rashid A. Conteh, Director of Razpec Furniture and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sierra Bo Garri, a garri and fufu-processing factory that is currently in course of establishment in Bo City.
In his address, the CEO thanked SLIEPA Bo Office for providing facilitating service to his investment. He said that, his intention for the establishment of the factory is not only to make profit, but to also create jobs and contribute to the Country’s economy; noting that, he wants to bring consistency in the production quality as he has a processing machine with a capacity to process 500 bags of cassava to produce 100 bags of garri a day. Among other benefits, his Company will closely work with those trading in garri processing to keep them in the business, he said.