By Mr. Foday Melvin Kamara
Sierra Leone has tens of thousands of small scale Oil Palm Farmers with farm sizes ranging from 1 to 200 acres. Malaysia, a country renowned for oil palm cultivation and with a population of 32 million, has a little over 300,000 Oil Palm Farmers. That figure of Malaysia constitutes 40% of the total farmers engaged in oil palm cultivation in that country and contribute to an overall annual production of 18 million tons of palm oil in the same country.
Eighteen million tons is by no means a small figure! Disregarding density differences, it equals to 90 million drums each of 200 litres capacity. To put it in perspective, assume that it is to be shared among Sierra Leoneans which population is about 8 million; each will have 11 drums of palm oil.
Translating that into monetary figures, it will be equivalent to an annual injection of about 9 billion dollars into the Malaysian economy. Isn’t that great? Can we stop for a moment and turn on our heads to figure out why such a success? A country with a population of 32 million – just 4 times bigger than that of Sierra Leone to reach such a remarkable level of palm oil production, must have been the deployment of known secrets that can be put into 2 categories of human endeavor:
The king pin of the policy pillars in agriculture is technology. A failure to see and activate technology, would be a colossal failure in seeing and applying its importance to agriculture. Technologies that encompass the generalities of applications in both mechanization and genetic plant materials; combined with a WILL by government and backed by value addition, good roads and access to market must be part of the mechanisms to activate for such a commendable accomplishment.
We cannot solve a problem by fixing the problem but rather by fixing our thinking. This rings the bell for a wake up call to shift paradigms in our mindset – our way of thinking and beliefs. It has a toll on our capabilities and abilities. Allowing our current mind set to prevail, will serve as a haze that blocks our glimpse of modern times, and that breeds hesitancy in the uptake of innovative technologies. That twisted thinking that is not in conformity with modernity, is what makes the average Oil Palm Farmer in Sierra Leone as in many African countries, to be none dedicated and only have a peephole to see his personal gains. That haze blocks the view of seeing himself as a potential business tycoon that can contribute to the development of the economy of Sierra Leone.
That haze will cause the farm to be left unkept as family members with a purported caring task, will be more concerned about personal gains than a return on investment.
I have experienced situations in which family members serving as care takers would want to keep the status quo as they personally thrive in the lackadaisical approach of the farm holder. They, (care takers) would be preoccupied with piecemeal harvesting and processing of palm fruits for personal gains. In some cases, they would resent the deployment of processing equipment that might prompt the owner to pay more attention and expose an irresistible urge to steal – kleptomaniac.
Unlike the Sierra Leonean Oil Palm Farmers, the Malaysian Oil Palm Farmers are dedicated to their farms and are willing to deploy technologies that keep their farms well cared for; their fruits harvested and valorized using technologies above archaic traditional systems. They do not only stop at fruits alone but every bit gotten as a byproduct of the processing will be turned into a commodity.
The oil palm is the only tree I know that produces 2 oils – palm and kernel oils. Despite that farmers hardly consider palm nuts given the difficulty they have in adding value to that byproduct; it is that which further valorize the oil palm.
When we have a dedicated approach in oil palm farming, offer a dedicated approach to processing equipment, billions of dollars would also find space in our pockets and safes/banks. Take note that the accompanying attendant positive consequences will be far reaching as it will engulf wide spread possibilities in breeding prosperity.
Be the DEDICATED Oil Palm Farmer and make use of FINIC Palm Oil Processing Technologies.
My next post will be about the Palm Oil Processing Technologies FINIC has so far developed that are making a huge difference in Sierra Leone and are poised to spread like wild fire to many African countries.
@ Foday Melvin Kamara
Managing Director of FINIC