An Agro firm, Golden Seed Fats and Oils on Friday said it had invested in a 155,000-tonne capacity palm nut cracker plant in the South-South region.
Mr Lanre Sam-Akinkunmi, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of the firm, told newsmen during a media briefing in Lagos that the company had also opened a 100,000-tonne palm kernel shell milling plant.
Sam-Akinkunmi noted that there had been a gap in the Crude Palm Oil (CPO) production chain majorly as a result of non- availability of cracker equipment in the country.
According to him, the stand-alone factory is a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in equity fund between him and his Co-Founder and Executive Director, Mr Ilkin Shahverdiyev from Turkey.
“The company is currently focused on edible oils and primarily focused on the palm kernel oil value chain.
“Our 155,000 tonnes per annum capacity of palm nut cracker is largest in West Africa; 100,000 tonnes palm kernel shell plant; 15,000 tonnes of palm kernel oil and 20,000 tonnes of palm kernel cake.
“We are currently working with 2,000 smallholder oil palm farmers under the aegies of Nigerian Palm Producers Association and the Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (OPGAN).
“Golden Seeds is helping these farmers with social investments such as pre-financing for operations, harvesting, milling operations and after production. We offtake at an agreed rate beneficial to the farmers
“We had to bring in significant FDI when we realised the huge gap in the palm nut cracker segment of the sub-sector.
“Because of the capacity, we have begun the process of generating our energy to ease the burden on the community,” Sam-Akinkunmi said.
He said the firm had done these in Ondo, Edo and some parts of Delta States where producers were majorly located to aggregate from them who produced in small quantities, saying that they were grouped to increase volume during offtake.
The Co-founder also noted that the firm was working at integrating its carbonisation stove to be launched in September to process palm kernel shells to charcoal to service the cement industry.
“All our value chain development have a target. For the palm kernel oil, we are targeting the soap production industry.
“For the palm kernel shells, we are looking at the cement industry while the palm kernel cake is targeted at the pig meal industry in Turkey, Dubai and Oke-Aro pig farm in Ogun.
“Sixty per cent of pig meal is palm kernel cake which is cheaper than soya bean meal.
“We will also grow our palm oil production because of the growing demand for soap, vegetable oil, margarine and others. Whereas, all these products have over 60 per cent palm oil content.
“We have a lot in out kitty; like the refinery we intend to build. So, our venture into this sector will be a win-win situation for both the Federal, state, processors, farmers and everyone across the value chain,” he said.
Sam-Akinkunmi highlighted some of the challenges in the sector as unavailable key moratorium, low interest rate finance and others.
He applauded Federal Government’s land border closure policy which had channelled a lot of investments to the palm oil sector.