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Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Unveils SABCO Fish Canning Factory, Assures of Government Commitment to Supporting Private Sector

Hanger Community, Jui, Tuesday 12 March 2024 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has commissioned the SABCO Sardine and allied products factory at Jui, just outside Freetown, making it one of the first private sector investments in an industry with the potential to employ one million youth in the coming years.


President Bio praised the management and staff of SABCO Fishing Company and expressed delight at the start of operations, pointing out that “it marks a significant day in our efforts to deliver on the flagship pillar of my government’s Medium-Term Development Plan, the Feed Salone Initiative”.


He reminded the audience about the FEED SALONE programme and noted that “the strength of this programme is its holistic strategy to ensure Sierra Leoneans have access to diverse food sources through the development of multiple value chains”. He said one of the priorities on the FEED SALONE agenda was “increasing the production of locally sourced protein and other nutrient-dense foods like fish and livestock”.

President Bio described the launch as a critical step towards meeting the government’s objective, pointing out that the company had come at the right time to contribute to food and nutrition security. He said the establishment of the company was a good sign that the government’s efforts at attracting foreign direct investments were yielding results.


“The opportunities are indeed endless for the private sector, especially in the marine sector. Sierra Leone is a country blessed with significant natural resources, including being watered by seven major rivers that flow from the north, north-east, down to the south, south-west, and empty into the Atlantic Ocean, which provides diverse and rich marine life along a 402-kilometer coastline.


“The proper management of our marine resources to realize their full potential is of keen interest to my government, as captured in our ‘Feed Salone’ initiative within our Medium-Term Development Plan. Fishing is therefore not a new trade in Sierra Leone, but the value addition in the form of processing our sardines and mackerels into canned food also has the added benefit of creating jobs in the immediate term,” the President revealed.

President Julius Maada Bio also encouraged the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the management of SABCO Fishing Company to explore opportunities to export to the region and beyond by drawing lessons from Morocco and aiming to become a leading producer in the sub-region. He assured of his government’s commitment to supporting interventions that could increase the country’s export base to address the trade deficit.


Chief Financial Officer of SABCO Fishing Company, Abess Sabbagh, reminded the gathering of how the company had navigated challenges since it was established in 2001 as Sabbagh Supermarket in Bo City and how it became SABCO Fishing Company in 2013. He said the decision was strategic to expanding their operations to the fishing hub in Kissy and explained how they initially acquired eight fishing vessels from their Chinese partners to support their growing market.


Mr. Sabbagh said their move was driven by their commitment to excellence and the desire to contribute to the growth of the local community, stressing that they had been an integral part of the thriving marine landscape of Freetown.

“It is with great excitement that I announce the latest addition to our product line: SABCO Sardines, a fish processing and smoking facility. This venture represents not just a product expansion but a testament to our dedication to quality and responsiveness to the evolving needs of our customers,” he assured.


Meaningful contributions were made by the Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries, the Ministers of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Trade and Industry, and the president of the Industrial Fishing Companies Association.

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