Goldtree is located near Daru in Kailahun District in Sierra Leone’s Eastern Province. Incorporated in 2007, Goldtree has succeeded in rehabilitating an abandoned palm oil mill and plantation, as well as reviving the oil palm industry in the province.
Apart from Goldtree’s own nucleus plantation, the business invests in local enterprises by purchasing fresh fruit bunches from outgrower farmers within a 40 km radius of the mill. This supports thousands of families in the rural community and ensures that they receive a fair price for their product. The mill processes the fresh fruit bunches into crude palm oil (CPO), and palm kernel oil (PKO).
The rapid transition from a defunct mill to operational plant was made possible with the support and assistance of three investment sources – the African Agriculture Fund (AAF), the Goldtree founder (Pan-African Agribusiness Limited) and the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (Finnfund). The investment has funded a nursery for improved hybrid seedlings, a new mill, workshops, offices, housing, vehicles and equipment, and working capital for ongoing operations.
The Goldtree team is led by Pieter van Dessel, General Manager Pieter is a Belgian national and came to Goldtree after seven years with the Siat Group, where he held several positions in palm oil plantations, most recently as Chief Operations Officer of Presco plc in Nigeria.
In order to improve the skills and productivity of outgrower farmers, the Company has taken advantage of the African Agriculture Fund’s Technical Assistance Facility (TAF). TAF is a Euro 10 million grant fund available to businesses in which AAF has invested, to provide appropriate technical assistance. TAF is funded by the EU, managed by IFAD and implemented by TechnoServe.
To date, three projects have been implemented:
– Road Development Programme – a project to map and prioritise road rehabilitation and maintenance in the Goldtree ‘fruit-print’.
– Outgrower Support Programme – a two-year project that focuses on organising and training farmers, as well as improving their access to high-quality farm services (such as harvesting, pruning and transport). The formation of an Oil Palm Growers Association is being supported as part of this project.
– Outgrower Replanting Strategy – developing a strategy for funding a replanting programme for outgrowers.