- Title: IVORY COAST: SIFCA seeks to double palm oil output
- Date: 24th July 2009
- Summary: TOUMANGUIER, IVORY COAST (JULY 23, 2009) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FARMER CUTTING PALM TREE IN ONE OF PALMCI PLANTATION IN TOUMANGUIER VARIOUS OF PALM PLANTATION
- Embargoed: 8th August 2009 12:58
- Topics: Industry
- Reuters ID: LVA6WKNLPFJRSNC4HB3O5EKY2R94
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Ivory Coast's SIFCA group said it will double its annual palm oil output to 500,000 tonnes over the next three years with technical and financial investment from Singapore's Wilmar International.
They also said that the increased output and the SIFCA group's purchase of its own ship to improve regional deliveries should help reduce the reliance on Asian imports while also easing a deepening shortfall in palm oil across West Africa.
"This year, 2009, PALMCI will increase from 13 and half tons per hectare in 2008 to 17 tones in 2009, with the partnership we forged with our partner Wilmar. They bring their techniques and experience, which raises the bar for us, to improve our performance," said Angora Tano, Palmci (a part of the SIFCA group) managing director,.
SIFCA said West Africa's deficit currently stands at 300,000 tonnes per year but it could jump to 500,000-600,000 tonnes if production is not boosted to meet growing needs in the region.
Ivory Coast, better known as the world's biggest cocoa grower, is also Africa's top palm oil producer with output of 390,000 tonnes last year.
Many cocoa farmers are turning to palm oil, which they say is more profitable and less labour intensive. SIFCA, a privately owned agro-industry company, has secured support from banks as well as Wilmar for a project that will see 40 billion CFA francs (85.28 million US dollars) spent on building four new factories to improve processing.
A further 11 billion CFA francs (22 million US dollars) will be spent every year providing agricultural inputs for farmers.
Output from plantations is expected to jump from 12 tonnes per hectare to 20 tonnes per hectare while small-scale farmers should see their yields improve from 5 to 12 tonnes per hectare.
According to SIFCA, of all the palm oil producers in West Africa, only Ivory Coast produces enough to export as well as meet local demand. Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso are still traditional buyers but Nigeria is a vast potential market.
"We have developed a distribution strategy, as we want to reach consumers from Senegal to Nigeria. So we bought a boat that will do little lending in 5000 tones of oil, which will travel on the coast of Africa to lower transport prices on the coastal countries, you know the road is quite expensive so that the transport shipping is not expensive," said Yves Lambelin.
SIFCA hopes that the new investments will help it tackle the twin challenges of a shortage in palm oil in the region and the tendency of Asian, rather than local, companies to fill the gap.
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