By Mildred Siabi-Mensah, GNA
Takoradi, May 14, GNA - The Benso Oil Palm Plantation Limited (BOPP) in 2018 processed 115,566 metric tonnes of palm fruits, an increase of six percent over 2017.
The growth in volumes was 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¢2.181 million as dividends to shareholders after accruing a profit after tax of GH¢5.91 million.
Meanwhile, 2017 counted profit of GH¢10.92 million representing a sharp decline of 46 percent.
This was largely due to lower prices on the world market.
The Board Chairman, Dr Ishmael Yamson, giving a review of the 2018 fiscal year to shareholders at the company’s Annual General Meeting in Takoradi, 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 economy of its catchment area by the fruits it purchased from smallholder and out-grower farmers.
Dr Yamson said despite the business challenge in this year, 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.
Mr Samuel Avaala Awonnea, the General Manager of BOPP 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 could 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, he said 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".