TFL is establishing itself as a secure, sustainable and traceable source of supply to meet the requirements of the major cocoa consumers. The Company has built a strong platform, operating successful cocoa buying, trading and production divisions, which utilise TFL's regional expertise and established operations in West Africa.
In line with TFL's strategy of intiating large scale commerical cocoa production, the Company holds a 3,200 hectare cocoa plantation located 35km south-east of Kenema, Sierra Leone. The plantation is supported by a 2.2 hectare nursery which, when fully irrigated, will have capacity for up to 1 million cocoa seedlings sourced internally from TFL's trading business.
200 hectares have been cleared and planted at the plantation to date, with seedlings supplied by the nursery. TFL are aiming to plant a further 250 hectares by Q4 2014, with plants in the nursery already established to support this.
Negotiations are also in place to acquire an additional 1,600 hectares of land adjacent to the Plantation. Subject to this acquisition, TFL aim to plant a total of 4,000 hectares by 2017, with the ultimate aim of producing a minimum of 8,000 tonnes of cocoa per annum by 2020 / 2021.
TFL also operates a successful cocoa trading business with a strong buying register of three main hub stores in Kenema, Kono and Kailahun, and a direct buying register of more than 3,500 farmers across the country. TFL completed the construction of a 2,000 sq m warehouse and processing-to-export facility in Kenema in February 2014, to further strengthen the cocoa trading logistics chain.
To further support the trading division, confidential strategic partnerships are being assessed to leverage combined operational size and cost efficiencies.
In addition, TFL has focussed on improving local infrastructure in Sierra Leone. This includes improving the roads that connect the plantation area to Kenema, developing a plantation road network and building four new management houses.
The Group remains committed to supporting the sustainable development of the cocoa industry in Sierra Leone. In line with this objective, TFL are working with the European Commission and the Republic of Sierra Leone to support its Agriculture For Development (A4D) scheme, which aims to increase production and improve the quality of selected cash crops for export, namely cocoa, coffee and cashew. As part of this programme, TFL are implementing training schemes to improve agricultural practices, such as under-brushing to maintain fertile land, and many of the Group's farmers have been awarded certification for their sustainable farming. These improved farming initiatives should help increase cocoa trading volumes, particularly by rehabilitating and extending the out-grower areas around the Groupâ€™s plantation.
Securing cocoa supplies for the business through a combination of forging long term relationships with farmers and out-grower schemes and establishing a large scale commercial cocoa plantation.