TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Sierra Leone's preferential market access to key markets for sugar & palm oil

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Source: Awoko

Sierra Leone is a Least Developed Country in Africa and this has given us the opportunity to export varieties of goods to the United States under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Producers in these areas will be permitted to export products to the US duty-free.

At the current time, all cane products - sugar, molasses, ethanol, etc. and oil-palm products (palm oil, palm kernel oil, oilcake from palm, palmitic acid, etc.) are classified as eligible products, although the US can change the list of products unilaterally and does so regularly. The current act remains in force until September 2015.

Again Sierra Leone has a current agreement with the European Market under the Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement, which will make producers of these products in the country have permission to export to the EU duty-free and quota-free.

All cane products - sugar, molasses, ethanol, etc. and oil-palm products - palm oil, palm kernel oil, oilcake from palm, palmitic acid, etc. are eligible for unlimited duty-free access to the EU

Until 2012, as a Least Developed Country (LDC), Sierra Leone will still benefit from transitional price arrangements which guarantee a price of €300/tonne ($450) for ACP-qualified sugar imports, even if market prices fall below this level.

Sierra Leone has a well balanced rainfall across the country and it is the highest in West Africa. This gives the country added advantage over other countries in the sub region and there are nine rivers in the country that help in the transportation of these products.

Because of the rainfall and the virgin lands scattered all over the country, the target land areas are compatible with environmental and social needs.

Unlike many parts of the world, cane and palm cultivation in Sierra Leone can be managed in such a way that operations do not displace food production or sensitive ecosystems.

Sensitive areas tend to be clustered along coasts; wetlands and Western Area forests and wildlife.

Also along inland borders with major forest reserves and wildlife habitats and around major mountains and hilly outcrops none of the target areas for cane or palm cultivation overlap with these zones.

Extensive cultivation of cash crops also would not displace local food crop production in the country as Sierra Leone has a total land area of 7.2 million hectares; of this, 5.4 million are suitable for agriculture, but less than 1 million are utilized.

The main food crop, rice, is grown primarily in swamp areas along coasts and low-level “boliland” pockets in river flood plains and upland “bush fallow” systems; livestock grazing is mainly in highlands in the North.

The opportunity exists for investors to meet the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility, thereby further enhancing their competitive edge in the EU and US markets Target.

 

 

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