Deal #2371

Location #1

Spatial accuracy level
Exact location
Location
Saba, Sierra Leone

Latitude
7.434271
Longitude
-11.840900000000033
Target country
Sierra Leone
Comment on location
Southern, Pujehun (Malen Chiefdom)

Land area

Intended size (in ha)
30000
Size under contract (leased or purchased area, in ha)
[2011] 6575
[2014] 17812
Size in operation (production, in ha)
[2013] 3125
[2014] 11057
Comment on land area
The company officially obtained 6575 hectares in terms of the lease agreement (first phase). Land is continuing to be taken from the local communities. The company has additionally occupied 600 hectares illegally, not included in the lease. The plans are to have 12 000hectares planted by 2017/2018.The ultimate goal is to obtain 30 000ha. One source states that the company has 30 000acres- 12140 hectares under contract. Socfin annual report 2014 states 17812ha under contract and 11057ha in operation. Another source states 18200ha in total.

Intention of investment

Intention of the investment
Non-food agricultural commodities, Agriculture unspecified

Nature of the deal

Nature of the deal
Lease
Comment on nature of the deal
Option to renew for a further 21 years. Another report states that the renewal period is for 25 years not 21 years.

Negotiation status

Negotiation status
[2011] Concluded (Contract signed)
Comment on negotiation status
The company signed on the 5th March 2011 a sub-lease with the Government of Sierra Leone, which holds the lead lease with the chiefdom council.The lease appears not to comply with the country’s land law by providing a renewal option not for 21 years but for two periods of 25 years.

Implementation status

Implementation status
[2013] In operation (production)

Leasing fees

Annual leasing fee
12.50
Annual leasing fee currency
US Dollar ($)
Annual leasing fee type
per ha
Comment on leasing fees
The company pays US$ 5 rent per year per acre, with only half of it going to the land owners.

Contract farming

Contract farming
No

Contract #1

Contract date
2011-03-01
Duration of the agreement (in years)
50

Number of domestic jobs created

Jobs created (domestic)
Yes
Current number of jobs (domestic)
1938
3400
Comment on jobs created (domestic)
Majority of the jobs created are temporary laborers.Reports state that the laborers are unhappy as they get paid less than $50 per month/ $2.3 per day. One source states "labourers on the oil palm plantation are harassed, molested and also exploited".

Operating company

 

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Data source #1

Data source type
Research Paper / Policy Report
File
Date
2011-01-01
Comment on data source
Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa: Sierra Leone, Oakland Institute

Data source #2

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2017-03-29
Comment on data source
DailyMail-- Farmers seek independent inquiry into controversial Sierra Leone palm oil deal

Data source #3

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2014-10-23
Comment on data source
Farm Land Grab- In the midst of the ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, SOCFIN poised the capture Malen Chiefdom

Data source #4

Data source type
Research Paper / Policy Report
File
Date
2012-01-01
Comment on data source
Oakland Institute: Farmers Make Their Voices Heard on Large Land Investments in Sierra Leone

Data source #5

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2015-08-26
Comment on data source
Farmland Grab - Questions we need to ask about what would be the second largest rubber plantation in Africa

Data source #6

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2015-12-09
Comment on data source
Farmland Grab- Rapid expansion of large scale land deals in Sierra Leone: The contentions amidst weak land tenure systems.

Data source #7

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2015-06-04
Comment on data source
Farmland Grab- They occupy Bolloré’s lawn to highlight Bolloré’s role in land grabs over the world.

Data source #8

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2017-06-15
Comment on data source
Agric. Minister calls for review of Socfin land lease agreement in Pujehun

Data source #9

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2011-01-01
Comment on data source
Awoko Business: SOCFIN Agricultural Company set to establish $ 100 million oil project in Malen chiefdom

Data source #10

Data source type
Personal information
Date
2015-12-04
Includes in-country-verified information
Yes
Comment on data source
Milton confirmed that the information in the case is correct, however land area information comment-- one source states 30 000 acres.

Data source #11

Data source type
Media report
File
Comment on data source
Standard Times Press- Landowners face jail term in Sierra Leone after resisting against Large Scale Land Investor

Data source #12

Data source type
Research Paper / Policy Report
File
Comment on data source
Social and Environmental Impacts of Agricultural Large-Scale Land Acquisitions in Africa—With a Focus on West and Central Africa by M. Richards

Data source #13

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2017-03-25
Comment on data source
Apropiación de tierras: el grupo Bolloré / SOCFIN rechaza el diálogo con las comunidades

Data source #14

Data source type
Other (Please specify in comment field)
File
Comment on data source
The Land Use Monitor

Data source #15

Data source type
Research Paper / Policy Report
File
Date
2011-01-01
Comment on data source
Green Scenery: Report on Fact Finding Mission to Malen Chiefdom, Pujehun District. 22nd-24th April 2011

Data source #16

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2012-12-04
Comment on data source
Farm land Grab- Sierra Leone: Local communities vow to stop SOCFIN land grab

Data source #17

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2017-06-19
Comment on data source
Concord Times- As 21-day ultimatum for SOCFIN Manager elapse…

Data source #18

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2014-03-17
Comment on data source
Farm Land Grab- Land grabbing for agriculture is causing conflict in southern, Sierra Leone

Data source #19

Data source type
Contract
File
Date
2011-03-05
Open Contracting ID
ocds-591adf-2434433566

Data source #20

Data source type
Company sources
File
Comment on data source
Socfin 2014 Sustainability report

Data source #21

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2014-03-09
Comment on data source
Farm Land Grab- Report by Green Scenery on land confrontation with SOCFIN

Data source #22

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2017-06-02
Comment on data source
21 days ultimatum for Socfin Managers

Data source #23

Data source type
Company sources
File
Comment on data source
Ogranisation structure

Data source #24

Data source type
Company sources
File
Comment on data source
Socfin Agricultural Company Sierra Leone Ltd.

Data source #25

Data source type
Media report
File
Date
2017-10-23
Comment on data source
Concord Times- Malen Chiefdom is under siege to SOCFIN

Names of communities / indigenous peoples affected

Comment on communities / indigenous peoples affected
40 villages

Consultation of local community

Community consultation
Limited consultation
Comment on consultation of local community
The press article states that the agreement followed "a day-long open engagement of all the parties involved"; according to Green Scenery, there was a lack of information given to local farmers. In October 2011, 40 protesters were arrested after clashes . The people criticized the lack of transparency surrounding the transaction and the lack of real consultation and information. Another source states that the communities were not subject to free, prior and informed consent. The government transferred the land to the company with a whole host of unresolved issues. One report states that the communities were not aware of that their land had been leased.

How did the community react?

Community reaction
Rejection
Comment on community reaction
according to Green Scenery, corruption and pressure was applied on land-owners and town chiefs to sign agreements.the establishment of the company has met with significant resistance from the local population. People from several communities affected by the SAC lease area have formed the Malen Affected Landowners Association (MALOA) to defend the rights of landowners and land users. Several individual landowners have also sent official complaints about tree-crop and oil palm plantations that SAC destroyed, allegedly without their permission, to the senior district officer and other local authorities.There have been several confrontations in the area between SAC surveyors and heavy equipment operators and local people protesting SAC intrusion on their lands, some of which have led to arrests. In December 2012, more than 100 aggrieved landowners and users met in Pujehun and signed a resolution calling for the Human Rights Commission to intervene on their behalf and saying they would no longer permit Socfin personnel or machines on their land. On 9th December 2013, another protest was held by the elders to allow people to again express their grievances to the Paramount Chief over the lease of land. Hundreds were waiting in the village of Libby Malen for the chiefdom authorities to arrive when they learned that nine of their fellow villagers had been beaten and arrested by the police en route to the meeting.The rest of the villages fled from the protest spot immediately but were confronted with an armed contingent of police who fired tear gas and live bullets into the crowd, leaving many people with serious injuries. After continuous complaints government, the villagers are still not heard. The local communities have protested against Bollore within the wider protests against the company. 5 Landowners have been found guilty by a high court in Southern Sierra Leone after they were allegedly found guilty of damaging the plantation- prison for 5 months or a fine of $5,100 each. The company claims that they obtained consent from the community and followed the procedures laid out in the law. Workers downed tools in May 2017 and demanded the company engage in discussions on grievances. A new agreement has been drafted as a result where most grievances are addressed, but this is still to be signed by the company manager.

Displacement of people

Displacement of people
Yes
Number of people actually displaced
10000
Comment on displacement of people
In 40 villages, Since March 2014 Libby Village has been forced to halt their subsistence farming so that the company could carry out surveys and brush the land. According to a report less than ten villages remain intact throughout the entire chiefdom.

Negative impacts for local communities

Negative impacts for local communities
Displacement

Promised or received compensation

Promised compensation (e.g. for damages or resettlements)
The General Manager of Socfin, Gerben Haringsma assured the Government of Sierra Leone and the people of Malen Chiefdom that the Company would live up to their corporate social responsibilities including the construction of a resident hospital, network of roads, schools, housing facilities, job opportunities for 10,000 people with special preference given to natives of the chiefdom. Moreover he promised that full payment would be made for existing plantations in the areas of operations to be followed by an annual payment of lease rents to land owners. According to Green Scenery, it is not clear what formula will be used in the distribution of the land lease payment between District Council, administration, national government and land-owners. Socfin originally offered US$220 per hectare as a one-off payment for the land, but this offer was rejected for being very low compared to the real value. Apparently the communities were paid a $40 000 for rent in 2011. The NGO Maloa protests since 2011 against the conditions under which an affiliate of the group settled on his land. Five of its members were jailed for two weeks and will be judged on November 15 2013 for destroying plants palm oil. Socfin now pays $12.50 per hectare per year to community members (2017). The company claims that each farmer received 1 million Leones ($135) in compensation for the loss of their crops and $2.50 a year for lease of each acre.
Received compensation (e.g. for damages or resettlements)
To date, the company has it looked at how local people who have lost their livelihood can be compensated

Promised benefits for local communities

Promised benefits for local communities
Health
Education
Roads
Capacity Building
Comment on promised benefits for local communities
The company's promise to give back to the communities includes three roadwork projects and has built eight water wells, one ambulance, a primary school, some footwear and jerseys for a friendly football match, a generator and paint for the police station outside the company's operational area. To date, the company has no intention of investing in agricultural programmes, nor has it looked at how local people who have lost their livelihood can be compensated. "80% of the sixty villages where the company operates have not received 20% of the development projects promised them when their land was leased in 2011."

Materialized benefits for local communities

Materialized benefits for local communities
Other
Comment on materialized benefits for local communities
The company's promise to give back to the communities includes three roadwork projects and has built eight water wells, one ambulance, a primary school, some footwear and jerseys for a friendly football match, a generator and paint for the police station outside the company's operational area. To date, the company has no intention of investing in agricultural programmes. "80% of the sixty villages where the company operates have not received 20% of the development projects promised them when their land was leased in 2011."

Former land owner (not by constitution)

Former land owner
Private (smallholders)
Community
Comment on former land owner
The government transferred the land to the company with a whole host of unresolved issues. Private land which is leased was previously known as Salin Malen Oil Palm Estate

Former land use

Former land use
Smallholder agriculture

Former land cover

Former land cover
Cropland

Detailed crop, animal and mineral information

Crops area
Oil Palm, Rubber tree

Use of produce

Has domestic use
Yes

In country processing of produce

In country processing of produce
Yes
Comment on in country processing of produce
30 tonnes/hour processing factory to be built by June 2014 at a cost of US$26 million, expanded to 60 tonnes/hour in a second stage. Oil mill construction almost finished.

Water extraction envisaged

Water extraction envisaged
Yes

How much do investors pay for water and the use of water infrastructure?

Comment on how much do investors pay for water
Payment for water was set at the equivalent of US$0.007 per cubic meter, with unlimited extraction from rivers, wells, or boreholes.

Overall comment

Overall comment
The Paramount Chief promised the company the fullest support of the people of Malen as the initiative was meant to bring about the felt needs of development activities to the war-torn chiefdom; however in April 2012 people complained about Socfin's lease at a meeting organized by the OI. The government transferred the land to the company with a whole host of unresolved issues. Land lease signed by MAFFS for land in Malen Chiefdom, and then subleased to Socfin Agricultural Company. "The Malen Youth Development Union (MAYODA) on 20 May 2017 issued a 21-day ultimatum for the General Manager of Socfin Agriculture Company, Philip Tonks, and the Plantation Manager, Gordon Peterson, to be transferred, before the 9 June 2017 due to abuses meted against workers of the oil palm plantation and failure to fulfill development promises." The agricultural minister- Prof. Monty Jones- has called for a review of the lease (June 2017).

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