Wilmar to invest N100bn in oil palm industr

By The Rainbow

Palm oil production in Nigeria has received a boost will be investing N100 billion in the industry in the few yew years.

The investment is one of the fruits of the  business marriage between PZ, a household name in Nigeria and Wilmer International, known global player in the palm oil industry, in 2011.

The global player has acquired  50 hectares plantation and the planned development of 20 hectares more in Cross Rivers State.

The investment is  expected to have a snowball effect of 'creating about 12,000 direct and over 33,000 indirect jobs at various skills.

But the refining aspect, in which modern facilities are already in place, is taking life at the company's Ikorodu (Lagos State) plant, where the boilers are set to fire up soon, on completion. For this, the CEO says, as the company's team interacted with the media in Lagos during the week, would cost N10bn to package the plant.

When fully operational, the refinery is expected to process crude palm oil to fill the significant demand gap in the Nigerian market.

However, from the plantation stage, the vision is to address the current national shortage of palm oil, create new markets and income for local industry and communities with the resulting job opportunities.

So far, over 600,000 high yield palm plants have been transplanted, uprooting the old, low yield ones with 2.1 million seedlings raised from four nursery sites.

In November 2012, a 32,000ha plantation was commissioned in Cross Rivers State with a manpower development back up of building a training school for plantation management on the site in Calaro Estate at Mbarakom, with the support of the government of the state, according to Giannopoulos, 60 trainees have passed out of the school.

The corporate arrowhead of PZ Wilmar says, to develop a win-win arrangement between small scale farmers and the company for purpose of self support and enhance local capacity through skill transfer, a palm out growers scheme is already in motion. This is to ensure that small holder farmers have a ready market for their produce.

This is a network between PZ Wilmar, and the State Ministry of Agriculture and National Resources and promoted under the Cross Rivers Agricultural and Rural Empowerment Scheme (CARES).

With a 1000 per day capacity refinery, the CEO assures Nigerian mothers and those in culinary business of a 100 per cent pure oil that would be affordable as 'a wide range of consumer packs to suit every budget will be launched, to complement all the patronage and investment.'