GENERAL Manager for Wilmar Africa, producers of Frytol, Mr Lacina Coulibaly has bemoaned the lack of huge lands for commercial palm plantations across the country to the cumbersome land tenure system.
According to him the complex land tenure system makes it difficult for the establishment of large oil palm plantations as it pertains in other jurisdictions.
Mr Coulibaly, made the assertion in an interview with Today, after an industrial visit by the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) to its multimillion dollar factory in Tema.
He hinted that his outfit, is ready and willing to invest additional capital to expand its oil palm plantations by trice or six times of the Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP).
However, Mr Coulibaly lamented that prevailing conditions for securing lager tracks of land are hindrances. “Our main issue here is the land acquisition because we do have our own plantation but the main challenge is how to increase, how to enlarge this plantation by having the land. He added.
He has therefore, called on government to step in to secure large tract of lands for cultivation of palm fruits in order to reduce foreign exchange lost to importation.
“As of now we are ready to invest but definitely it has to be safeguarded and we need the policy makers to make it clean so that we know who we are talking to, who the land belongs to, so that we don’t invest then at the end we end up creating harm. In case we have clear picture, then investment is not a problem because we are in need of palm oil in this country.”
“We are not interested in importing palm oil if it is available in Ghana; we will be creating jobs and that’s good for all of us.”
The Wilmar Africa GM, bemoaned the unavailability of raw materials in the country. according to him, his outfit currently importing about 90 percent of palm fruits needed for their operations. The company spends close to about 40 million dollars on imports of raw materials used in producing the cooking oil
“Demand for palm fruits in the country currently stands at 400,000 tons. However, the local market is only able to meet 150,000 tons of the demand compelling us to import from countries like Singapore and Malaysia” he reiterated.
It would be recalled that Wilmar acquired the Frytol franchise from Unilever in 2010 together with the Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP). Since then they have been commanding about 70 percent of the domestic market.
Story: Franklin Asare-Donkoh