The Benso Oil Palm Plantation Limited (BOPP) in 2018 processed 115,566 metric tonnes of oil palm, an increase of six percent over the 2017 figure, the company has revealed.
The growth in volume has been attributed to good agronomic practices and improved efficiencies, both in the plantation and among out-growers.
The company in the same year disbursed a total of GH¢2.181million as dividends to shareholders, after accruing a profit after tax of GH¢5.91million.
Speaking to shareholders during a review of the 2018 fiscal year at the company’s Annual General Meeting in Takoradi, Dr. Ishmael Yamson, Board Chairman of BOPP, said the level of profitability was impacted by growth in the cost of outside-purchased fruits, agricultural inputs, and spare-parts and general increases in price levels due to inflation.
He maintained that fundamentals of the company remain solid and sustainable in the medium- to long-term.
The company, contributed nearly GH¢24million to the local economies of its catchment area by the fruits it purchased from smallholder and out-grower farmers.
Dr. Yamson said despite the unforeseen business challenges in 2019, management will continue to leverage on expected growth in crop production from nucleus plantations, the upgraded palm oil mill, and best management practices to ensure sustainable shareholder value enhancement.
Mr. Samuel Avaala Awonnea, General Manager of BOPP, said the company sees government’s Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme as exciting, particularly as oil palm is one of the crops captured under its scope.
He is optimistic that when executed properly, crop production can be increased five years from now, and Ghana can become self-sufficient in palm oil and even record surpluses for export.
In line with the PERD, BOPP, and in collaboration with the Mpohor District Assembly, a farm mapping exercise has been initiated to identify interested farmers in the district, in order to roll out a scheme to start planting in a more sustainable way.
Mr. Awonnea called for a second look at application of the newly-introduced benchmark value for import duty computations with respect to imported vegetable cooking oil, as it is beginning to make such imports artificially cheaper than locally produced cooking oils.
This, if not checked, he noted, could hurt the local palm oil industry from the plantations (including smallholders/out-growers) to the refineries and downstream, and ultimately the flagship PERD programme will be affected.