Kailahun Produce Company is a premium cocoa and coffee bean trading business founded in the Kailahun District of Eastern Sierra Leone. We’re also about to open new centres in the neighbouring districts of Kono and Kenema. We work closely with the farming community in an environmentally sustainable and ethical way to help them produce the best quality possible.
We actively invest in and support a range of agronomic programmes that assist farmers to improve their profitability and working conditions. We benefit from better quality and the virtuous circle enables us to pay farmers more for their produce. We can offer our customers coffee and cocoa that is fully traceable right back to the individual farmer and we expect to gain various certifications very soon.
The challenges facing farmers in Sierra Leone are complex and often interconnected. There are numerous challenges to producing good quality beans. The roads are very poor, resulting in difficult movement of produce, particularly during the rainy season. The farms are often old and overgrown requiring brushing, pruning and new trees. A lack of young farmers, who fled to urban areas during the war, exacerbates the problems. No single company or organisation can succeed alone in addressing these challenges.
However we work closely with the government, NGOs and industry partners to help deliver programmes that bring about real change for farmers and their communities. These relationships allow us to guarantee delivery of consistently good quality with benefits to all parties involved.
We train farmers in best agronomic practices, focusing on post harvest handling and help build and manage basic village level processing centres where they can bring cocoa pods and coffee cherries for correct fermenting and drying. And soon we’ll introduce nurseries with seedlings that are more pest resistant and higher yielding to replace old and diseased trees.
PHOTO: Members of the Bassenkoen Marketing Association in Kono. The farmers were helped to form Farmer Field Schools then clustered into their own limited liability associations. They’re supported by World Vision, USAID, and Acdi Voca with the PAGE (Promoting Agriculture, Governance and the Environment) program, all of whom we work closely with. They recently won 1st prize at the World Food Day for producing the best quality cocoa from any farmer group in the country.