Natural Habitats SL a Dutch company dedicated to the production and trade in organic oil palm is investing in a green field oil palm plantation in the Southern province of Sierra Leone. Over the past 3 years Solidaridad West Africa has worked in partnership with Natural Habitats to ensure the land lease arrangements for the green field plantation comply with the national land policy in Sierra Leone as well as with international best practice. The main achievements have been a significant reduction of the lease area, increased awareness of land rights among communities in the project area and informed decision making by land owning families to lease a portion of their land (or not) for oil palm production and set aside sufficient land for food crops. To support farmers livelihood options farmer groups have been organized and received support to invest in staple food crop production (rice, groundnut, cassava) through provision of tools, planting material and training.
Considering the vulnerable context of food insecurity in Sierra Leone and specifically in the Pujehun district where the company is active, an important component of the project is also to support livelihood of communities in and around the identified land for oil palm development. The ambition of the company is to continue the food security support through direct and indirect pathways.
Identified opportunities are:
Considering the aim of green organic oil palm an optimisation of the use of natural resources, notably nutrients and carbon, but also land, in the phase of plantation and mil is targeted. We aim at circularity and integrative ecological approaches. Assessment of biomass streams and their most effective use is therefore important especially for environmental friendly production.