Golden Veroleum Liberia operating in Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties, southeast Liberia has recommitted to upholding all MoUs signed with communities for oil palm cultivation.
The company had suffered several negative reports both from the media and international watchdog groups, including Global Witness about its activities sometimes characterized by mass protest and vandalism from aggrieved residents and employees.
But addressing media editors over the weekend at its Monrovia office on 17th Street in Sinkor, GVL Vice President for Sustainability Andrew Kluth said management was moving on a good path with communities where its investment has reached, building schools, hospitals roads to connect towns and villages.
The company has provided over 3000 jobs in both counties its currently operates and looks forward to creating between 35,000 and 40,000 jobs as its expands.
Mr. Kluth said currently, management has brought into the country and assembled a mini-mill in Tanjuowon District, Sinoe County with a capacity to process five tons of palm head per hour, pending arrival of its man mill (80 tons per hour) in mid-2017.
GVL has expressed desire to fostering strong ties with the media in getting its programs across to the public as well as quickly dispelling wrong perceptions about its operation.
Also speaking, General Manager for Operations Elvis G. Morris said key challenge the company is faced with is managing citizens’ expectations against required standards for acquiring land for cultivation.
Mr. Morris explained that community residents would offer several hectares of land to GVL and expect management to immediately start employing them for palm planting without considering the rigorous procedure required such as identifying and setting aside sacred sites, among others.
By Jonathan Browne