Public Notice: Transfer of assets of former SLPMB to newly established SLPMC
The Government of Sierra Leone have, this week through the National Commission for Privatization officially transferred the assets of the former Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board (SLPMB) to the newly established Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Company (SLPMC), taking over functions previously performed by the SLPMB with the aim of becoming a major competitor in the marketing of agricultural commodity for export and local market in Sierra Leone.
The closure of the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board (SLPMB) in 1992 created many challenges for the macroeconomic performance of Sierra Leone and the welfare of farmers. The macroeconomic problems include loss of jobs, especially in the agricultural sector and loss of foreign exchange source to unscrupulous foreign and local conglomerates, who have not only been reluctant to repatriate their export earnings, but also sufficiently exploit farmers by paying pittance for their produce.
The current produce market system, particularly cocoa and coffee in the South east does not encourage farmers to improve quality and they are locked into a debt cycle, which reinforces lower price. As a result of this practice, buyers’ margins are high enough for them not to focus on quality but focus on generating volume and use surplus working capital to guarantee supply for disadvantaged farmers.
As a result of poor quality, Sierra Leonean Cocoa is currently sold on the world market as raw material for cosmetics . This results in a price discount of approximately 25% over Cocoa from Ghana used for chocolate production.
To rectify this anomalous situation and to enhance quality and ensure greater participation by Sierra Leoneans, Cabinet, in its Conclusion No.cp (2009) approved the formation of the SLPMC to take over the functions previously performed by the defunct SLPMB.
As opposed to the SLPMB which was wholly Government owned however, the SLPMC is a public limited company which will bring together all key stakeholders in the industry and will minimize the quality problem and guarantee fair prices for produce. The Company will also encourage the introduction of international best practices through the adoption of Fair Trade, UTZ, Global Gap and RSPO thereby making our produce to attract high end market while guaranteeing a steady supply of our “Made in Sierra Leone” value added produce in the local market.
As a new company, we will continue to remain focus and to respond to calls by other well-meaning Sierra Leoneans on government and government state institutions to continue to attach urgency to the redefinition and aggressive implementation of national policies which can lead to the achievement of our collective national vision,” The Agenda for Prosperity”. The Company will continue to provide the assurance of its capability to serve as the bridge between producers of local products and consumers and as a policy of ensuring that locally grown (Made in Sierra Leone) are promoted throughout the country.
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