Bomi County – Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) is set to introduce/launch the country’s largest palm oil mill this month, creating new employment opportunities and the development of skilled labour.
Currently, SDPL has been operating a smaller mill that processes eight metric tons of Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) per hour, but with the introduction of the bigger mill, the rate of processing will increase to 30 metric tons of FFB per hour or 600 tons a day.
The introduction of the bigger mill will have a positive impact on building the capacity and technical skills of employees as the company intends to have at least 100 employees directly working at the mill.
With the country still experiencing scarcity of skilled labor in activities such as mill operations due to the prolonged civil war, several Liberian employees are expected to gain valuable knowledge in operating a mill, which processes oil palm fruits into crude palm oil.
Many African countries are exerting efforts aimed at lifting the skills of locals.
Liberian cabinet officials during a recent cabinet retreat underscored the need to prioritize the construction of functional mills in several counties in the wake of growing interest in mechanized agricultural activities such as the cultivation of oil palm.
SDPL’s new mill will run in two shifts per day and for six days during the course of every week.
The company is expected to give priority of employment at the mill to existing employees.
SDPL signed a 63-year agreement with the Government of Liberia to develop 220,000 hectares of land in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu and Bong into oil palm and rubber plantations.
To date, the company has planted some 10,500 hectares in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi counties as further expansion is tied to the outcome of a High Carbon Stock study conducted by foreign experts.
The study is expected to guide the company to carry out plantation activities in line with the requirements of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm oil (RSPO).