The Chief Executive Officer of Conservation International (CI) M. Sanjayan said he is looking forward to forging a partnership with Sime Darby Plantation-Liberia (SDPL), to protect the country’s forest, a release has said.
According to the release, Sanjayan made the statement last week during a one-day visit to the company’s head office in Bomi County.
He expressed the hope of finding a way to work with Sime Darby, the communities and the Liberian government so as to formulate a conservation and development plan for the region.
Sanjayan thinks Sime Darby is trying to do the right things; but doing so in a more responsible way to protect the forest and develop communities could be the way out.
“We are here to learn about their operations and also understand how we could work with Sime Darby to ensure that forest conservation is maximized to benefit the communities,” Sanjayan said.
He said their visit was to afford them the opportunity to understand the needs of the communities, the company and the country at large. Thus, CI partners with conservation groups to support several projects in Liberia.
Sanjavan believes that Liberia has an incredible forest, incredible biodiversity and a very raw and small population, noting that their objective is to ensure that Liberians have jobs and a path to development, but not to destroy the forest.
In a brief presentation to the delegation, Sime Darby Cooperate Communication Manager Toushi Itoka explained the overview of the company’s operations to the delegation.
Madam Itoka said that Sime Darby, which is the world’s largest oil palm plantation, has a land bank of over a million hectares and operates in 17 countries around the world, including Liberia.
Itoka said in 2009, the company signed a 63-year concession agreement with the Liberian government to develop over 220,000 hectares of land in four of the 15 counties, including Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Bong.
She however stated that the company is only focused on Grand Cape Mount and Bomi counties for now.