The management of the Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP) Limited is to purchase and install a bigger steam turbine and boiler to enable the company generate its own energy requirements.
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting at Takoradi, Mr Ishmael E. Yamson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BOPP said as a result of the declining rainfall pattern over the past years BOPP has started digging trenches in the field to harvest rain water to ensure that the right moisture levels in the soil were maintained.
Mr Yamson stated that additionally all empty fruit bunches were currently being sent back to the field to decompose to enrich the soil.
The company plans to accelerate the decomposition process from one to eight weeks by composting the palm oil mill affluent and the empty bunches, he said adding that, the resultant organic matter would be applied to boost the nutrient levels of the palms and also aid the moisture retention of the soil.
He noted that the composting process was environmentally friendly and would stop the need to maintain effluent ponds, which posed a potential danger of falling walls, resulting in the pollution of water bodies.
He said that the company would focus on ensuring efficient agronomic practices, effective and efficient oil extraction, higher labour productivity, cost control and removing all cost elements that did not add value to the operations.
The Board Chairman said the company had a good year due to improvement in the world market price for palm oil and stated that the market price of crude palm oil went up from an average 421 Dollars in 2005 to 459 in 2006 representing a 9 per cent increase.
He said that the company produced 87,066 metric tonnes, representing a little under one percent over that for 2005 while crude palm oil production was 16,485 metric tonnes, a growth of three per cent over 2005.
BOPP made ¢5.2 billion profit after tax and paid a dividend of ¢104.54 per share to its 12,239 shareholders for 2006 as against ¢152 million profit after tax in 2005 when it did not declare any dividend.
He said management decided to pay shareholders 70 per cent of the profit after tax, a departure from the normal policy of up to 50 per cent because of their performance and profits made.
Mr Yamson said operating profit of the company during the year under review increased by three per cent from ¢2.7 billion in 2005 to ¢3.8 billion in 2006.
He said improvement in the world market prices for palm oil coupled with cost saving measures adopted by management accounted for the profits.
The Board Chairman said in line with its social responsibilities in its operational area, the company donated educational items to the Benso DA JSS and Adum Banso DA JSS and contributed to the Presoman Council Educational Fund and made further contribution to the maintenance of the Adum Banso roads and culverts.
Mr Samuel Kanagah, General Secretary of the General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU), commended the company for its achievements and urge the management to motivate the workers to give up their best.