Lion Mountains began farming operations in Bo District, Sierra Leone in October 2014, at what proved to be the height of the Ebola epidemic. Despite the additional challenges of the medical emergency, the pilot phase was launched very successfully and established Lion Mountains as an active member of the local farming community. Following closure on its Series A financing in August 2015 and delivery of a new milling machine, Lion Mountains is now the largest rice milling operation in Sierra Leone.
The pilot phase comprised a small land area for the cultivation of rice and groundnuts, allowing the management team to learn about soil conditions and rice varieties; the company is now expanding production through the development of a 500 hectare land area at Senehun in Kamajei Chiefdom. At present, however, the milling operation is the most significant element of the business: Lion Mountains has a mill in Bo, which is supplied through the purchase of raw rice from a network of around 3,000 outgrower farmers in partner chiefdoms in Bo District. Besides being an attractive business, this delivers a valuable development impact by linking smallholder farmers to the market, usually for the first time.
Despite the economic impact of the Ebola epidemic, Lion Mountains remains unchanged in its view that Sierra Leone offers an exceptional investment opportunity, especially in the agriculture sector, and is committed to the country for the long term. The company (and its parent company, Phoenix Africa Development Company Ltd) regards Sierra Leone as a notably stable and high-growth investment destination; the goal for the company is to develop 14,000 hectares for the cultivation of rice and other crops, and to provide a profound social impact in its partner chiefdoms in Bo District.
The confidence of this commitment to Sierra Leone is founded on the excellent political environment, highly attractive investment incentive package, outstanding natural endowment, and welcoming people and government. Phoenix Africa elected to establish its first portfolio project in Sierra Leone precisely because its stable and welcoming operating environment is not fully reflected in the reputation of the country around the world, meaning plentiful opportunities for those investors who are prepared to look beyond the headlines.
ABOUT LION MOUNTAINS
Lion Mountains was established by Phoenix Africa to farm and process rice and other crops in Sierra Leone, contributing to improving the food security of the country and delivering a significant development impact to partner communities. Lion Mountains is headquartered in Bo and aims to sell Sierra Leonean rice to Sierra Leoneans all over the country.