One of Liberia’s giant oil palm companies, Sime Darby which signed concession agreement with the Liberian Government to plant oil palm in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu counties, all in western Liberia has been praised by youth in these counties for raising their living standard.
This has come about through housing, schools, healthcare delivery, rehabilitating of farm to market road, better incentives for workers and improving community-company relations, among others.
The contributions by the company have been noticed by the Goblah Youth for Development and Advocacy or GOYDA, based in Gorblah Clan, Klay district, Bomi County.
The organization says after careful monitoring, investigations and analyzing the activities of the company in the last six years, citizens have realized that the company has been essential in that part of the country.
The organization acknowledges that despite the enormous challenges facing the company, it has not reneged on helping the citizens in those counties.
“It is also good to be thankful to the management of Sime Darby for the investments and the development that follow including the many good things that the company has started to do in the area of education, road, health, employment opportunity and infrastructure development,” GOYDA notes in a statement released here.
The statement signed by Francis B. Moore, Secretary General and Clarence G. Boimah, Chairman of the organization, recounts that prior to the arrival of Sime Darby Plantation Liberia in Bomi, 2009, B. F. Goodridge and Guthrie plantations operated in those areas for so many years, but the inhabitants never experienced such rapid economic improvement that they are experiencing under Sime Darby Plantation Liberia.
The group further notes that it can now boast of over five hundred students (500) who have graduated from the Sime Darby High School both employees and non-employees’ children, which worth commendation.
Besides, the company has provided series of scholarships through its Yayasan arm for many students in the fields of Science and Agriculture, over the years as part of its corporate social responsibility. Similar commendations were made last year when a group of women praised the company for its free and effective healthcare system in the county.
The youth-oriented group adds that citizens working with SDPL and non-workers can now afford to buy bags of rice at a lower cost through the intervention of the company.
“Economically, our communities are improving gradually due to the presence of Sime Darby. Villages and towns were once seen with palm thatches on top of houses, but today, it has changed or changing to zinc roofing. Many citizens can now afford to construct their own houses and the use of generators for electricity has improved rapidly,” GOYDA expresses.
Prior to the arrival of the company, citizens in those concession areas faced difficulties due to deplorable road conditions, but GOYDA says things have changed for the better through SDPL.
“For the past five years we have noticed that the living standards of people had improved,” the group indicates.
At the same time, the organization is calling on citizens and all Liberians to channel their grievances through proper mechanisms in order to avoid conflict that could scare investors away.
Due to that, the youth are calling on the company to expand its operations in other parts of the country to create more jobs and also be able to accrue good dividend on its investment.
Part of their statement falls in line with President George Weah’s quest to bring in investment. The President declares that Liberia is open for business and encourages international companies to come and invest in the country.