Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) is holding a series of meetings, alongside land mapping with communities that have freely offered new and additional lands for oil palm development and extension in Grand Kru County.
The meetings and mapping exercise is being carried out with the Sorroken communities in Trembo Administrative District who have offered additional land, along with Gblebo, GrandCess, Topoh and Gbalakpo Clan communities in GrandCess/Wedabo Administrative District.
The mapping is part of the company’s community engagement policy under its Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process, and will show the extent of customary lands, areas of High Conservation Value (HCV), High Carbon Stock (HCS), sacred areas, gravesites, riparian reserves, wetlands and concentrations of endangered species, farmlands and other livelihood areas as well as potential areas for oil palm cultivation.
According to James Mulbah, manager for social sustainability and community affairs, GVL is committed to respecting the sovereignty, culture and traditions of its host communities and preserving their sacred heritage and economic rights.
“This is just one of our standard operating procedures (SOPs). Local communities working with us must be a matter of free, prior and informed choice. As a matter of policy, GVL always conducts participatory mappings along with communities who invite us to develop their land with oil palm,” said James Mulbah.
Mulbah explained that as part of the best industry practices and policies, after the ongoing participatory mapping, the company will conduct participatory Environmental Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs) and participatory High Conservation Value (HCV) Assessments after which the maps and findings of the ESIA and HCV assessments will be endorsed by the communities.
As GVL is yet to move into these areas, citizens entertain the hope that their communities are on the path of economic and infrastructure development. The extension of GVL’s operations to these new areas will create more sustainable jobs, better and modern schools, health care, roads that are currently lacking, a release issued yesterday said.
To date, GVL says it has gainfully employed over 1,300 locals in Grand Kru and committed to increasing the number as it expands in these and other areas. The company states that it develops oil palm in alignment with the Liberian Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), including the food security component. It further states that it is committed to supporting communities that are poverty-locked.
In a related development, the Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) has reportedly stepped up its recruitment drive with the oil palm developer expected to hire several recent graduates of the Tubman University in Maryland County.
The release said early this week, the company hired five persons in its finance and transport departments to be assigned in Sorroken and Garraway respectively, Grand Kru County.
The new recruits are expected to help ease stress and beef up strength of the finance department of the company, whose employment stands at over 4,000 employees currently in the country.
The move by the company follows operational expansion in the county, as well as the arrival of more heavy duty trucks.
Currently being provided with basic administrative training skills in SAP, the new recruits are poised to efficiently manage the oil palm industry in post war Liberia as the company zooms towards its production in 2017, said the press release.
Additionally, about 20 recent graduates of the William V.S. Tubman University are currently being interviewed in the areas of agriculture, finance, banking, management,
GVL said in a statement. The move also coincides with GVL’s employment initiatives of recruiting Liberians to fill key posts.
The company said in a statement that it remains committed to improving the livelihoods of its host communities through sustainable employment opportunities and other basic services, which will have positive economic impacts on the local communities.