Vietnamese to produce rice & rubber in Sierra Leone

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Awoko | 24 October 2011

Major Vietnamese rice producers are looking at entering the Sierra Leone agribusiness industry, according to the Acting Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Mr. Allie Badara Mansaray.

Three weeks ago, a team of Vietnamese investors and their technical advisers visited Sierra Leone to conduct feasibility studies with the aim of entering the agribusiness sector in the country.

During their stay, they visited the Mange Bureh Rice Production sites, Kobia (Mambolo) Rice site, Rokupr Agricultural Research Centre, Tormabum Rice Boillands, Kpuwabu Tree crop clonal garden in Kenema district and the Rutile Aquaculture sites in Moyamba, in Bonthe and also in Pujehun, before leaving for Vietnam a few days ago.

Acting Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Mr. Allie Badara Mansaray.
According to Prof. Dr. Bui Chi Buu, who headed the Vietnamese team, the visit has been very successful and that “Sierra Leone has the right environment and climate for massive rice production” to match what they are doing now in Vietnam. Prof Dr. Chi Buu, who is Director of Agricultural Sciences at the Vietnamese Ministry lead a team of 14 delegates comprising technical experts in agriculture, irrigation engineering, aquaculture, and international trade cooperation.

The Acting Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Alie Badara Mansaray in an interview with Awoko Business disclosed that after the tour up-country, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and the Vietnamese team came up with a number of key action points which “we have translated into a Memorandum of Understanding.” He said, the Vietnamese are keen to invest in the areas of rice and rubber and that they will be “fielding in a much bigger team early next year to start work on the projects already identified during the just concluded visit.

Although majority of the investments will be coming from the Vietnamese, the government of Sierra Leone, according to Mr.Alie Badara Mansary, will be approaching the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome so technical and other professional advice can be made available to Sierra Leone to support the Vietnamese when they are in Sierra Leone.

The estimated value of the investment is yet to be determined as the Vietnamese are in consultation with their government, but from their feasibility studies and the areas they have expressed interests,” Sierra Leone is looking at another investment in the agribusiness to the tune of over five million US dollars at the initial stages” according to one of the visiting Vietnamese technical team member.

During the visit which ended last week, the Vietnamese requested for a piece of land to build a “Vietnamese house” which they will use as their main operational base in Sierra Leone.

The scale of the investment has led many including officials at the FAO office here in Freetown to predict that Sierra Leone is embarking on a period of large scale rice production as was the case in Vietnam after the war ended in that country.
Indeed, Vietnam is today one of the World’s largest rice producers.

In another development, the Acting Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Mr. Alie Badara Mansaray, has disclosed that the government of Sierra Leone, through his Ministry has also signed another Memorandum of Understanding with a group of Chinese investors who are also interested in producing rubber in Sierra Leone.

Explaining to Awoko Business, the Acting Minister said that they are expecting the Chinese to start work early next year and that the Chinese are expected to invest over three million US dollars in the venture.
Original source: Awoko
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