By SLIEPA, Directorate of Marketing and Communication
The Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on last Friday visited one of Sierra Leone’s newest farm produce exporting companies – Fresh Salone (SL) Ltd in Kobbaya, Kaffu Bollum Chiefdom, in the Port Loko District, as they are set to start vegetable exporting to the European Union (EU) Market.
Managing Director of Fresh Salone, Jonathan Rosenfeld stated that their farm is certified to produce vegetables for export, and that they are aiming to export about 10 tons of fresh vegetables and frozen leaves every week to the European Union market through clients in Belgium, who will subsequently distribute the produce to other European countries.
He said they are planning to start exporting next month, with a container of frozen cassava leaves.
Five exporters of agricultural produce have formed the Federation of Agricultural Produce Exporters (FAPE-SL) with more members to join, MD Rosenfeld said.
He maintained that they will also be processing hot sauces and dried fruits for the local market as well as export.
He expressed appreciation over the support they have received from SLIEPA, which he said has been very much instrumental to their success, especially in helping to engage and build relations with the local community.
He also commended the part played by other institutions including the Ministry of Trade and Industry in helping their business prepare for exporting, after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Rev. Abraham Sesay Jones, said his ministry supports the investment, which he said should be regarded as an eye-opener for Sierra Leoneans as to what is possible.
He said that the strategic role of the Ministry of Trade and Industry is to strengthen economic growth and reduce poverty in Sierra Leone.
He encouraged Sierra Leoneans to follow the example of Fresh Salone to acquire wealth through enterprise and investment, and eliminate poverty in line with the vision of President Bio.
He said, a lot of good things has happened under the New Direction Government and there is a lot more to come and thanked members of FAPE-SL and assured them of the Ministry’s fullest support in their effort to leverage foreign exchange for their business.
The Deputy Minister also said that they want to support the private sector with an upcoming micro-credit scheme for everyone that wants to start a business.
Chief Executive Officer of the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), Sheku exmond Koroma stated that the decision of Fresh Salone to export vegetables is important because it reduces the country’s balance of payments on deficit.
He said that SLIEPA has been part of the success of Fresh Salone, and that such an achievement of exporting 10 tons of fresh vegetables, can only happen with the support of the New Direction Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry and SLIEPA.
He also said that the Government of President Bio will continue to support Rosenfeld, and that his investment is well protected, as his success will attract other investors to come to Sierra Leone.
Koroma appealed to the traditional leaders and the community to collaborate with Fresh Salone for the good of the country and the community.
Local Chief of Lungi Section, Alimamy Samba Dumbuya II, on behalf of the Paramount Chief (PC) Bai Shebora of Kaffu Bullum Chiefdom, said that Fresh Salone investment is their baby, and assured that the community will wholeheartedly continue to provide security.
He said the Paramount Chief advised Fresh Salone to implement the government’s Local Content Policy in its employment strategy.