Sierra Leone’s Supreme Court did justice to Socfin
Since 2013, repeated abuses were committed by 6 persons (oil palm damaging) within the SAC plantation, subsidiairy of the Socfin Group, in Sierra Leone. The 6 men who were indicted for the destruction of private property were sentenced to imprisonement and the payment of damages.
This court ruling confirms the legal principle of private property protection in this country where the Socfin Group, through its local subisidiary SAC, employs several thousands of people and operates a palm plantation of around 12 000 ha.
Several NGO’s maintained that only poor plantation management of the Socfin Group provoked the abuses committed by the 6 accused.
The Supreme Court denouces the attitude of these NGO’s, whose deceitful allegations, wrongfully taken over by certain media, only aimed at comprimising Socfin.
In 2009, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Agriculture, after having visited the LAC plantation (Socfin) in Liberia, decided to call on the Socfin Group to develop a project in his country. The objectives of the Minister of Agriculture were to decrease the dependance of his country on the import of staple commodities and to modernise agricultural techniques.
Subsequently, a process of upward dialogue was embarked upon together with all stakeholders : farmers, landlords, traditional and community chiefs. A green belt is created around the villages within the plantation to allow the inhabitants to maintain their vegetable farming sites.
Founded in the 19th century, the Socfin Group is involved in the management and development of oil palm and rubber plantations in various countries in sub‐Saharan Africa and South‐East asia.
Socfin is a major vector for development in the regions where it operates : oil palm and rubber are perennial cultures having a positive impact on the surrounding communities. Its cultiviation creates thousands of steady jobs and also allows tens of thousands of smallholders to benefit from the technical support offered and the guarantee that their production will be purchased.
More specifically, the operations of Socfin in Sierra Leone are not limited to an agro‐industrial project ; Socfin actively participates in the development of the rural Sahn Malen region : modernisation of the hospital, construction of bridges, improvement of the road network connecting the plantation and the villages to Sierra Leone’s second city, improved access of the inhabitants to health care, education, investment opportunities, electricity, water, rice production and other environmental projects (reforestation, children’s club), medical sensibilisation campaigns (Ebola, HIV, malaria, diarrhoea), training in agricultural techniques etc.