One of the benefits of large-scale agriculture is the ability to create employment for communities in rural areas, reducing urbanisation, as well as improving social conditions.
The investment in palm plantations in Gabon has created employment opportunities for about 9,000 Gabonese nationals, of whom many never previously had permanent employment, and we have invested in training to develop the range of new skills required on a palm plantation and its associated activities.
Since the start of development we have engaged with and supported local communities. We have undertaken the process of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) with 32 villages in the proximity of the plantations to ensure understanding of our goals and to provide opportunities to raise concerns. We have hired and trained social communicators from these communities who understand the traditional social structures in the villages and the best means of communicating and engaging with different stakeholder groups.
We have established five Social Contracts across all of these villages which has included building schools, dispensaries, roads, football pitches, as well as digging bore holes and installing solar lighting.
Almost 55% of children in Mozambique under 12 are affected by malnutrition
Malnutrition is a public health issue in Mozambique. The numbers are particularly high for the under-five children whose 65% have vitamin A deficiency.
Aware of the issue and bringing in our international practice and experience, in 2015 our Mozambique Edible Oil business started to add vitamins A and D to the oil during the refining process. The initiative was well received by the government and some international organisations working on child health promotion such as USAID. A year later, the country created a steering committee to discuss food fortification where we were invited to share our experience along with other companies dealing with cereals and salt. The food fortification initiative has been turned into a policy and integrated into specific legislation, we have been recognised by the government for our contribution.