FREETOWN Jan 19 China's Hainan Natural
Rubber Industry Group has signed a deal worth $1.2
billion with Sierra Leone to establish rubber and rice
plantations in the West African state, according to a government
statement issued on Thursday.
Sierra Leone's agriculture ministry described the project,
which is due to take six years to develop and make use of
135,000 hectares of land, as the largest agricultural investment
in the country's history.
The first phase of investment is due to begin in February
with a 30,000 hectare rubber plantation and 25,000 hectare rice
project in Tonkolili, the statement said.
(Reporting by Simon Akam; Editing by David Lewis)