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12.01.2004 Business & Finance

PSI on oil palm to yield $90 million

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THE President’s Special Initiative (PSI) on oil palm plantation and exports is expected to yield about $90 million in export revenue within the short term. The first phase of 100,000 hectares of oil palm is expected to produce 300,000 tonnes of palm oil a year at an export price of about $300,000 a tonne.

According to an official government document, 6,700 hectares of land had been cultivated leading to the employment of more that 27,000 farmers.The PSI on oil palm is projected to put under cultivation 100,000 hectares of new oil palm plantation to meet domestic demand. This is expected to increase to 300,000 hectares in subsequent years to meet the demand in the West African sub-region.

Government has commissioned the Oil Palm Research Institute (OPRI) to produce two million oil palm germinated seeds annually for the PSI on oil palm project. So far the government has invested a total of ¢18.1 billion in 12 pre-nursery operations with various capacities.

According to government sources, four more operators would be added during the course of the year while six existing nurseries would be upgraded.In the long term, the PSI on oil palm is expected to generate an export revenue of $1.6 billion annually and employ about 1.2 million people.

The nurseries are located in the Central, Western, Eastern, Ashanti, and Brong Ahafo regions while the Volta region is among the regions to have the four new plantations to be included this year.The nurseries include B & N Farms, Norpalm, MAOPP, Ayiem Oil Mills, Obooma Mills and Akotosu farms. Others are Agyepong Farms & Co, Sarpcoe, Juaben Oil Mills and ROHANA, OPRI.

It is estimated that there is an external market for 2.6 million tonnes of crude oil palm and oil palm-based products a year. The country, however, produces only 800,000 tonnes annually.Under the PSI on oil palm, the industry is expected to yield $1.6 billion over the next 10 years from investment in milling and facilitate the establishment of 30 vegetable oil refining facilities, among other things.

Oil palm is a crop that provides multiple outputs and it is the only plant whose fruit produces two types of oil- palm oil and palm kennel oil.Oil is an input in industrial production of non-dairy creams, ice-cream powder, salad dressing, fat spread and chocolate.

Its substitute, stearine, is traded as a substitute in the formulation of soaps, detergents, margarine and baking fat. Palm oil is a rich source of vitamins A, D and E, which are rich and indispensable in the pharmaceutical industry.

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