Home > Uncategorized > Sime Darby to invest US$3.1 billion in Liberia

Sime Darby to invest US$3.1 billion in Liberia

MONROVIA (Liberia): Sime Darby Bhd expects to invest as much as US$3.1 billion (RM9.3 billion) in its Liberian estates until 2025, chairman Tun Musa Hitam said.

Musa said since Sime Darby Plantation Liberia Inc’s (SDPLI) entry into Liberia two years ago, it had shown that it is serious in being part of the community where the estates are located.

Thus far, SDPLI had rebuilt 15 schools, stocking them up with new furniture as well as paying the teachers’ salaries.

It had also refurbished three new school buses to ferry the children to the schools within its estates. SDPLI has purchased an ambulance unit and expanded the sick wards at the hospital ground within its estates.

“We’re here for the long haul and we believe the win-win approach is the best way to do business with our partners here. After all, the oil palm is proven to be a crop of peace and prosperity,” Musa said.

Also present was Sime Darby Plantation senior vice president I of agribusiness division Helmy Othman Basha. He said SDPLI had already established four plots of nurseries that will generate 780,000 seedlings. This will kick-start the first planting of 5,200ha at Grand Cape Mount County.

“For the next 15 years, we’re scheduled to invest in infrastructure like roads, bridges, electricity and piped water. We’ll also put up the mills,” he said.

Yesterday, in a briefing, he explained to visiting Malaysian reporters that, by 2025, SDPLI intends to plant up to 170,000ha with oil palms across four counties namely Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Bong and Gbarpolu.

Helmy said Sime Darby, a firm believer in good agriculture practice, will undertake social and environmental impact assessments before any development begins. For example, it will maintain riparian buffer zones between water bodies and planted areas.

By 2015, the group will start to put up 15 mills; each mill for every 10,000ha. These mills, while extracting crude palm oil and fueled by biomass, are self sustaining. This is because they will able to generate steam and electricity for use within the estates.

“Each of the 90-tonne an hour mill is budgeted to cost around RM90 million because of costlier building materials and logistics here,” he said.

By 2035, SDPLI should be fully-operational. “We estimate that our operations here will create and support 35,000 jobs. There will also be spillover impacts in uplifting the livelihoods of surrounding communities of the estates,” he said.

He explained that under the Liberian government’s concession to develop 220,000ha until 2072, SDPLI is required to work with smallholders to plant up another 44,000ha under an Outgrowers Scheme.

 “This scheme is to help smallholders and surrounding communities, a programme similar to Felda that has tremendous multiplier effect on the local economy. Here, we will provide management expertise while the Liberian government accord financing to the smallholders.”

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