Agro, Inc. has been a major sponsor for the formation of the Oil Palm Association of Liberia (OPAL). Consisting of growers and processors of oil palm and oil palm products in Liberia, OPAL serves as the single voice representing member and oil palm industry interests to the government of Liberia, statutory bodies, as well as other internal and external stakeholders. With a focus on the growth and sustainability of the oil palm industry in Liberia, the organization supports national marketing and promotion efforts, helps shape R&D policies and priorities, and provides its members with a number of specific support services.
For several years, Agro, Inc. has provided scholarships to top students at elementary schools near our operations. However, in most instances, these children have had to walk more than 1 hour to get to school. Near our plantation operations in Maimu, Bong County, local community leaders agreed to set aside land for the construction of an elementary school that will offer classes to both the children of our employees and to those in neighboring communities. Through a partnership with the United Nations Development Program, Agro is constructing a 12-classroom school that will serve nearly 650 students in two daily sessions. The school will open its doors for the 2009 school year.
We have also sponsored several key infrastructure projects near our operations, including the rehabilitation of roads and bridges, the installation of culverts, and the construction of market stalls for rural market women. As biomass from milling operations increases, Agro will explore the limited supply of electricity to surrounding community centers which the local population is now constrained from using at night.