DRC/Congolese planters to Ivorian oil palm industry
On the sidelines of their expedition to Côte d'Ivoire, the Congolese planters visited, among other places, some oil palm plantations, one of the activities that abound in the Ivorian agricultural sector.
The visit began early last Tuesday morning in Adonkoi, a locality located about twenty kilometers from Abidjan. On this place covered by a remarkable greenery, we can see palm trees dominating all the vegetation that grows there. This palm plantation is the property of Palmafrique, one of the giants of the Ivorian oil palm industry.
"The company has existed since 1997, just after the privatization of Palmindustrie, a company formerly managed by the Ivorian state. We acquired a large part of its assets and so today we operate up to 8,400 hectares of plantations spread over 3 sites," explained Adou Théophile, Palmafrique's agricultural director in a conference room where the company welcomed visiting Congolese planters.
On one of these sites, not far from Palmafrique's headquarters, nurseries can be seen in full growth. They are maintained by some independent growers. "These individual growers, in return, benefit from the company's supervision, which provides them with sufficient material to increase production, but also offers them other social benefits, notably through associations such as the Palmafrique Foundation.These individual planters, in return, benefit from the company's support, which provides them with sufficient equipment to increase production, but also offers them other social benefits, particularly through associations such as cooperatives," explains Léon, head of the palm oil production department at GBE Agri in Côte d'Ivoire.
From the plantation to the oil mill
If Palmafrique has such a large surface area for its oil palm plantations, it is because the company is currently the largest supplier of palm bunches to the country's large oil mills, particularly the one in Yassap. The latter is located in Dabou, a town about 50 km from the Ivorian capital.
In this oil mill of Yassap, where the Congolese planters also went the same day, the immensity of the concession that houses the facilities testifies to the quantity of palm bunches that are processed there.
"The company handles up to 10,000 tons of palm bunches annually. It is one of the largest oil mills in Côte d'Ivoire, although the market is competitive," says Wilson Aniero, the director of industrial production at Yassap, adding that in addition to the production of palm oil, the company also has a large number of other products.that in addition to palm oil, the company also produces palm kernel oil, i.e. oil extracted from the kernel.
The visit of the Congolese planters to Yassap ended with an inspection of the gigantic machines that process the palm bunches to extract oil. An impressive mechanical installation that the Yassap technical team took care to explain to the Congolese planters step by step.
"This is an important visit. It allows us to discover some of the strengths of their process. We will especially try to adopt some of their methods that allow us to reduce, for example, the rate of loss throughout the extraction process. This will help us a lot to increase our performance in the production of palm oil in Congo", comments Dim, technical manager at GBE Agri in Binga (DRC).
The need for urgency
According to recent statistics, Côte d'Ivoire ranks second, just after Nigeria, in the ranking of major palm oil producing countries in Africa with more than 500,000 tons annually. The DRC is in fourth place, ahead of Ghana, with about 300,000 tons of production per year. The Congolese planters know that it is in their interest to multiply their production for food self-sufficiency at the local level above all. This is a matter of urgency, as the population of the DRC is expected to increase significantly in the coming years, according to the demographic projections of the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
Supported by Congo Motors through CASE, supplier of tractors, Palmelite, supplier of seeds, Indigo and Savana, which provide chemicals and related equipment, and Palmco, which is part of the Elwin Blattner Group (GBE Agri), this project is designed to help Congolese growers get the most out of their crops.The purpose of the visit to Côte d'Ivoire by Congolese farmers was to learn about the various techniques that are enabling this West African country to develop its agricultural industry.