The Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Company (SLPMC) targets to buy 100 metric tonnes or four containers of 40ft each of cocoa before the end of the 2016/17 crop season. This will almost double the 53 metric tonnes bought in the 2015/16 crop season.
Already, the state-owned company has bought from the farmers over 63 metric tonnes of cocoa the crop used to produce chocolate and body lotions.
“As of present, we’ve purchased over 63.6 metric tons. We believe we will do over 100 metric tonnes this year [2016/17 crop season],” Hamid Kabba, Director of Operations of the SLPMC told Awoko. This is the first time that SLPMC is buying such a large quantity of cocoa. The company bought 2 trucks in 2016 to evacuate produce including rice and coffee and not just cocoa.
In 2015 the company did about 53metric tonnes of cocoa of which they exported 50 metric tonnes, the equivalent of 2 containers of 40ft each to Switzerland, Mr Kabba said.
SLPMC has increased its capacity to 100 metric tons because it has a buyer Minka SCS in Switzerland dealing in cocoa. “We have a buyer already Minka SCS. This is the company that is funding us to buy the cocoa this year. We have already received about $150,000 to buy the cocoa,” he said.
A major challenge in the area of cocoa is the road network particularly in the Kailahun District. Kailahun is the highest cocoa producing area and Kono is second. A major challenge is the last 17 miles from Pendembu to Kailahun Town in terms of evacuating the produce.
The company is into coffee and rice also. “In terms of coffee, we bought 91 metric tons. And that is a big jump from what we have been doing in the previous years. That coffee was sold locally to Sierra Coffee Mills,” he said. “We bought about 10,000 bushels of rice in the area of Mambolo. The milling was done in Makeni and parboiling in Mambolo.”
SLPMC is tapping into the institutional school feeding programme. The company has made Mambolo the headquarters and established milling facilities in Mambolo and Kambia town.
For the 2017/18 crop season the target is to buy 200 metric tonnes of cocoa and 200 metric tonnes of coffee.
Tuesday December 13, 2016