Dole Sunshine Company Reinforces Commitment to People, Planet and Prosperity with New Operations in Sierra Leone
With four years of work, a growing team and an investment over $70 million, Dole Sunshine Company (DSC) is enabling better livelihoods in Sierra Leone. The brand, whose promise is to bring Sunshine for All™ to customers, employees and consumers around the world, is completing Phase 1 of its project in the West African nation with a focus on driving regional development, employment and healthcare, and providing a new level of certainty to the region at both their factory and the commercial plantation.
In 2017, the company officially embarked on the journey in the mostly untouched region of Sierra Leone, with extreme poverty, a harsh food crisis, and limited access to proper healthcare, electricity and water. The commercial plantations and factory are expected to add to livelihoods of over 8,000 people by 2024, and ongoing work has resulted in the establishment of a local health centre and neonatal wing, agricultural development, increased health and sanitation in the region, and quality products from the nation for export to EU, the Middle East and North America.
“As a purpose-driven business, our Dole Promise permeates everything we do and has been at the center of our work in Sierra Leone – addressing issues in the region while creating value for our shareholders and stakeholders,” said Siddharth Ramaswamy, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Food & Beverages Group – Dole Sunshine Company. “With the cooperation and support from the people and the Government of Sierra Leone, we have been able to improve livelihoods and move forward in the region with many of our goals. So far, we are on track to meet and exceed our original plan. These are particularly relevant in the current food insecurity crisis, which is the consequence of the Ukraine war, commodities hyper-inflation and disrupted supply chains.”
Outside of production, DSC has been focused on supporting the region in multiple ways including:
- Opened a health center with a focus on neonatal care, open to all employees, their families and all pregnant women in Sumbuya Lugbu. This is a major step forward for the region given its significant maternal and infant mortality rate (UNICEF).
- Improved access to water with 11 wells completed in June 2022, and another three planned before February 2023. This effort will provide access to 13 of 22 villages within Sumbuya.
- Supported food insecurity with agricultural development.
- Expanded access to electricity through government partnerships.
- Supported the upskilling of residents with a training facility, and spurred banking growth and existence through the Community bank with an increase in banked customers by 150%.
- Drove preservation and sustainability goals with contoured land tillage, recycling, fuel consumption monitoring, and new efficient farming practices.
“As a brand, we are driven in Sierra Leone by the impact we have already been able to make and by what is next,” said Alex Riviera, Managing Director, Sierra Tropical Ltd. “As we ship product from the region to the world, we know that we are helping the country move forward and addressing many of the issues here today. And our work is an investment not only in Sierra Leone’s future but in restating our focus on bringing sunshine to all.”
In addition, the company is continuing to explore additional developments in Africa with partners in other countries, as well as donor organizations for improvements on infrastructure in Sierra Leone.