Quifel Agribusiness agrofuels or foodcrop projects in Port Loko, Sierra Leone

Description
Quifel Natural Resources is part of Portugals Quifel Group, a holding company controlled by Portuguese aristocrat, businessman and amateur racing-car driver Miguel Maria de Sá Pais do Amaral, and is involved in multiple sectors, from insurance and real estate to agriculture and energy. Its’ first agricultural endeavors were in Brazil, but increasing land prices there pushed the company’s attention to Africa. The company acquired large land concessions in coastal East African countries for oilseeds, and West African countries for fruit and vegetables. Quifel Agribusiness (SL) Ltd, incorporated in 2008 in Sierra Leone, holds three leases for 49 years each (extendable by 20 years) in Port Loko region. Signed by local chiefs in 2009, information of the leases remains unclear both internationally and locally, and as the leases were negotiated directly with the local chiefs the Minister of Agriculture was unaware of the existence of the deals. At least one protest is recorded, in response to Quifel clearing plots for test plantings cassava and rice belonging to unsuspecting landowners. Although Quifel initially stated their intentions were to grow palm oil for agrofuels, according to a 2011 report by OI they grow small plots of pineapple for Africa Felix Juice (for export), and intend to grow other food crops for local and regional markets. Quifel promised jobs, compensation for land lost, health care, and increased infrastructure, but those suffering from clearing of their lands have reported none of these have developed. The agreement is riddled with potential for corruption: the lack of transparency, the lack of agreement with the national government, the lack of an ESHIA, and in Loko Massama Chiefdom the absence of a Paramount Chief, the body Quifel has agreed to pay rent, has led to Quifel withholding all rent payment until one is chosen and high tensions in the chiefdom due to perceived benefits of the job. Quifel Natural Resources website simply states it is conducting oil seed trials in Africa, and no website was found for Quifel Agribusiness. The status of the project is unknown.

Basic Data
NameQuifel Agribusiness agrofuels or foodcrop projects in Port Loko, Sierra Leone
CountrySierra Leone
ProvincePort Loko District
SiteKoya, Loko Masama and Masimera Chiefdom.
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Deforestation
Specific CommoditiesFruits and Vegetables
Palm oil
Ethanol
Land
Rice
Cassava
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsMasimera Chiefdom : 25,000 ha, Koya Chiefdom : 27,000 ha, all 14 sections of the Loko Massama Chiefdom : 74,000 ha – but Quifel maintains that the cultivatable area is limited to 60,000 ha.

Project Area (in hectares)126 000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population72 000
Start Date2008
Company Names or State EnterprisesQuifel Group from Portugal
Quifel Natural Resources S.A. (QNR) from Portugal
Quifel Agribuisness from Sierra Leone
Africa Felix Juice from Sierra Leone
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Local Government and Internal Affairs
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersOakland Institute, http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Soil erosion
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusUnknown
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Although the status of the project is unknown, damage to livelihood and deforestation is recorded in the early phases of the project.
Sources and Materials
References

[click to view]

Oakland Institute, 2011, 'Land Deal Brief: Quifel International Holdings in Sierra Leone'
[click to view]

Oakland Institute, 2011, 'Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa – Country Report: Sierra Leone'

Links

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, 'Koya Chiefdom signs 50 yr agric. Land lease with Quifel'
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[click to view]

Quifel Natural Resources
[click to view]

Quifel, 'Why Does an European Investor Engages in Agribusiness in Sub Saharan Africa'

Other CommentsAccording to OI’s 2011 report 72,000 people live in the 367 villages within Quifel’s 126,000 ha – many of these villages will be directly affected by the projects.
Meta Information
ContributorAliza Tuttle
Last update08/04/2014
Comments