Since the onset of the phenomenon of large scale land acquisition for agri-business in Sierra Leone, after the first whistle was blown by Green Scenery, many studies have been conducted by various researchers, some to meet requirements for degree thesis, others for policy and development purposes. There is the fear in a school of thought opposed to large scale land acquisition that there is danger in corporate entities ascribing huge portions of land to themselves in the guise of investment and annihilating the actual land owners. This school of thought holds the view that large scale land acquisition is alarming in scale and deleterious to ecologic functions and to the socio-economic wellbeing of communities directly affected by the phenomenon. Deforestation and changing biome are the leading factors that associates large scale land investments, which in turn may activate total environmental degradation (loss of biodiversity; water, air & land pollution of all kinds; food insecurity and adverse climate change effects). Other factors such as conflict over land, conflict arising from unappreciated compensations, corruption due to interest in land deals, investors failing to meet their corporate social responsibility, demands of affected communities, loss of self created jobs in farming that support livelihoods of small holder farmers and community trans-boundary issues are other challenges pointed at by those not in favour. The other school of thought in favour of the phenomenon postulates that huge transformations accompany the process of large scale investment in land for agriculture. This offers jobs where mainstream jobs are unavailable, improves infrastructural development and contributes to national revenue. Howbeit, this work will not look into the issues presented by these schools of thought. What it intends to do is to bring further issues into the discussions. The issues of the accuracy of land sizes taken by the investors, whether the land taken in particular locations are infringing or not in other locations, how much land area is taken as against the total area of host communities. Therefore, this work is based on spatial attention of concern dealing with concessions of large scale land investments. A prominent business, SOCFIN Agricultural Company (SAC) Sierra Leone Ltd. in Pujehun District, otherwise SOCFIN for this report, was prioritized for this monitoring exercise. For a number of reasons: the company has been a constant focus for Green Scenery in terms of monitoring, research and other forms of investigations; the company is now very advanced in its operations and has practically concluded planting its palm trees within the concession and issues have arisen from communities about their land areas and individual clan/family lands. SOCFIN Spatial Monitoring Report on SOCFIN  claims to total concession area of 18,481 ha in Malen chiefdom.1 This monitoring exercise will be used to verify this assumption. Both field data collection and desk research were performed to enhance credibility of this work. Details of how this work was carried out, is well detailed in the methodology.
Authors and Publishers
Alfred Isa Gassama
Green Scenery is concerned that 60% of the total area in one of the districts in Sierra Leone could soon be converted for large-scale industrial oil palm plantations.