The Benso Oil Palm Plantation Limited (BOPP) increased its production capacity in 2018 by processing 115,566 metric tonnes of palm fruits.
The increased capacity showed a six per cent increase of what the company did in 2017.
The growth in volumes was attributed to good agronomic practices and improved efficiencies both in the plantation and among outgrowers.
The company’s profit ,however, declined in 2018, largely influenced by lower prices on the world market.
It also disbursed GH¢2.181million as dividends to shareholders after accruing a profit after tax of GH¢5.91 million.
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Speaking at the company’s Annual General Meeting in Takoradi, the Board Chairman of BOPP, Dr Ishmael Yamson, said the level of profitability was impacted by the growth in the cost of outside purchased fruits,agricultural inputs and spare parts and the general increase in price levels due to inflation.
He maintained that the fundamentals of the company remained solid and sustainable in the medium to long-term.
The company contributed nearly GH¢24 million to the local economies of its catchment area by the fruits it purchased from smallholder and outgrower farmers.
Dr Yamson said despite the foreseen business challenge in 2019, management would 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.
The General Manager of BOPP, Mr Samuel Avaala Awonnea, said the company saw the government’s Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme as exciting, particularly that oil palm was one of the crops in the scope.
He was optimistic that executed properly,crop production can be increased five years from now and Ghana could become self-sufficient in palm oil and even record surpluses for export.
In line with the PERD, BOPP, in collaboration with the Mpohor District Assembly, has initiated farm mapping exercise 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 the 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, could hurt the local palm oil industry from the plantations (including smallholders/outgrowers) to the refineries and downstream and ultimately the flagship PERD programme could be affected.