By Amin Kef-Ranger
One of the most successful business entities in the country renowned for importing and marketing standard as well as qualitative food items, beverages and other essential goods in the country, including its famous Padi products, Pee Cee & Sons is currently on the verge of engaging on large scale agricultural and farming activities at Soktharr and Makassa in the Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, within the Mathene Section, Port Loko District, Northern Sierra Leone, where the entity is cultivating a variety of cash crops notably onions, okra, watermelon on a 510 acre farmland.
It was reliably learnt by this medium that Pee Cee and Sons has invested and will continue to invest hugely in the implementation of the Project.
This medium reliably learnt that according to the Project arrangement, for now and as the implementation gains momentum preference is given to residents of the chiefdom and district in terms of employment for working on the farmland.
Significantly, under the project Pee Cee and Sons will start the cultivation of different types of cash crops on the farmland and after harvesting the produce will be processed, packaged and labeled before they are internally marketed or exported.
The Honourable Vice President, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, during a site visit to the district met with the CEO of Pee Cee and Sons, Mahesh Nandwani, met at met at Soktharr and Makassa towns in the Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, Port Loko District.
Aware of the intention of Pee Cee and Sons to engage on the large scale farming, the Vice President used the opportunity to properly explain to residents of the chiefdom about the agricultural project and the attendant benefits.
Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, through an interpreter into Temne, began by introducing the Chief Executive Officer of Pee Cee & Sons, Mahesh Nandwani, to the residents of the chiefdom informing them of the company’s intention to embark on large scale farming as opposed to the type of small scale farming they are knowledgeable of and have been used to.
“If you have heard about Padi rice, Padi vegetable oil and other products that are imported by Pee Cee and Sons well this man here is heading that company. He and other members of his business entity have decided that instead of importing some of the products that they market, which could be grown here, they could easily plant them here, harvest them and package them here for marketing locally and for exporting with the name of where they were produced inscribed on them,” the Vice President intimated the indigenes who raptly and jubilantly responded with a thunderous applause.
He continued by intimating them that anyone of them could be capable of becoming employed by the company whether educated or not and Pee Cee & Sons will willingly pay for services rendered.
“During the course of the implementation there are other benefits that you will enjoy more especially in terms of social amenities such as improved electricity supply that will improve standards of living,” he furthered, with those words greeted by deafening expression of praises for the Government and the CEO for taking development to them.
Already the construction of a bridge that will link the chiefdom to other settlements within the district is ongoing which is said to be part of the project, a development which most of the residents have been commending and happy about saying it will help greatly and drastically to reduce some of the constraints they have been encountering to gain access to other parts of the district.
The Vice President, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh and the CEO of Pee Cee and Sons, Mahesh Nandwani, were warmly received by the residents, whom after the Vice President has explained to them what the project entails and its attendant benefits, expressed profound appreciation for the development intervention as well as profusely commending President Julius Maada Bio and his Government for encouraging investors to invest in the country under a conducive atmosphere. They also commended other completed development projects which they are now currently benefitting from.
Residents of the community were so overwhelmed with joy and promised to warmly welcome in their midst Pee Cee and Sons also expressing their willingness to cooperatively support the project.
Climaxing the engagement were the singing and dancing to traditional songs by the residents who were truly manifesting their joy and happiness over the good news they have received from the Vice President.
According to a development expert, who spoke to this medium, the agricultural project if well implemented will be a perfect example of a public-private partnership, somehow contribute to alleviate poverty in that part of the country, somehow boost the economy and mark a complete shift in how farming is done as it will not only be done on a large scale but the agricultural produce will be processed here.
Giving an example, he said high grade onions, which are imported and then sold to wholesalers and retailers, could now be grown here, processed and bagged here sold on the local market with some exported.
“What this means is that a bag of home grown onions sold on the market will definitely be cheaper in terms of price as opposed to those that are imported taking into consideration the payment of import duties, Goods and Services Tax and other related charges,” the development expert averred.