By Department of Public Relations, Parliament of Sierra Leone
The Parliamentary Committee on Trade and Industry, chaired by Hon. Veronica K. Sesay has concluded a four-day visitation to business producing entities with a view to ascertaining their level of compliance in respect of safety standards, export quality in the cocoa industry and their successes and challenges in that regard.
Speaking on the need for oversight by Parliament, Hon. Veronica K. Sesay said this was the first their first visit to producing companies to understand their operations in light of quality controls and procedures that were being used for export purpose.
At the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Company, Kenema, following a visitation to the cocoa storage facilities, the Regional Manager of SLPMC, Ibrahim Turay spoke about their roles and responsibilities and their successes and challenges; adding their trucks were no longer working, save for one, lack of access to trading capital to buy cocoa, and to run community stores were some of the challenges affecting their operations.
On their successes, he said SLPMC had received its Organic Certificate from ECOCERT and that the Company was exporting cocoa to the EU market, from whom they were receiving additional premium payment, part of which was being shared among farmers.
At Taha Amin Skaikay Cocoa and Coffee Stores, its CEO, Amin Skaikay spoke about his role in the marketing sector and thanked MPs for the visit; adding what they had done in respect of corporate social responsibility.
At the Cocoa and Coffee Central Warehouse Mass Factory, its CEO, Mohamed Nassa gave an overview of their operations to MPs in respect of the juice factory, water and cocoa manufacturing and production activities in that part of the country including their successes and challenges during the course of their operations.
At the Produce Monitoring Board, its Regional Manager, Mohamed Kallon spoke about the good relationship that had existed between the Board the Produce Marketing Companies in the Region, and informed MPs that the companies were in compliance with the established rules and regulations in the trading sector. He also said that the Produce Monitoring Board had established community block farms to enhancing agriculture productivity and had also created demonstration sites for farmers in rural areas.
The Committee also visited Saad Group, Ngolaibu Cocoa Farmers Association and Punjab Trading Center and inspected their facilities and discussed issues including safety and sanitation.