All is set for Okomu Oil Palm to become Africa’s Largest Palm Oil Company by 2020 as the management of the organisation yesterday finalised arrangement to build the largest palm oil mill, which is expected to cost $45million (about N15 billion), in Africa.
Dr. Graham Hefer, the Managing Director of the company, made this known while conducting the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Osacar Onyeama, round the company’s facility at its extension 2 field in Ovia North East Local Government, and that in Okomu in Ovia South West Local Government of Edo State.
Onyema and others had undertaken a tour of facilities at the plantations of Okomu Oil Palm Company in the two Local areas of the State.
According to Hefer, the company now employing over 2,500 staff at its extension 2, saying that the factory is expected to take off in February next year and would be sited around the current nursery area of extension 2.
“There would be a mark improvement in our production level when the factory fully takes off, moving from 40,000 tons of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) to more than 80,000 tons of 60,000 tons a piece or 120,000 tons of installed capacity in the extension 2 and Okomu Oil Mills,” he said.
Hefer, who also spoke on the rubber factory, said that the company currently produces about 8,000 tons of dry rubber annually for export, pointing out that it would increase its planted areas to 1,500 hectares of rubber to give it some economy of scale and also add two vertical sterilisers in the oil mill.
While noting that the visit of the NSE boss to the company’s facility would afford the stock exchange hierarchy to better understand its operating environment, particularly in view of some regulatory problem and other challenges in the sector, he noted that by next year, it would have 9,000 hectares planted.
He explained that one of its biggest problems so far was trying to get past some regulatory issues, saying it depended on the support of Edo State Government to be able to move ahead in the sector.
“We are not going anywhere, we want to continue to create wealth from the soil for everybody to get the benefit of the company as it grows,” he stated.
At the end of the two-day tour, Onyeama said he was impressed with the facilities on ground especially the automated rubber factory and palm oil mill.
He described the size of Okomu oil as massive, pledging that NSE would link between quoted companies, just as he added that the scale of production was highly technical as the entire team seems to work very well together.