MBARAKOM – The production of palm oil will begin in the 6,384 hectares Wilmer Calaro Oil Palm Estate in Mbarakom, Akamkpa Local Government Area of Cross River in 2016.
The Senior Estate Manager of the plantation, Mr Henry Dusmin, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in the Oil Palm Estate, Mbarakom.
Dusmin told NAN that the planting of new improved high-yielding specie of palm tree seedlings had started since 2012 with the cultivation of 125 hectares.
The estate was inaugurated in 1954 as Calaro Oil Palm Estate on a 6,384 hectares of land acquired from Mbarakom Community in Akamkpa Local Government.
Over the years, only 5,394 hectares were cultivated with palm trees under the state government until 2011 when the company was sold to Wilmer International of Malaysia.
The Malaysian company is expected to manage the estate for 25 years before the management contract can be renewed afterwards.
Dusmin said the company now could only develop 1,755 hectares, while 1,400 hectares were being cultivated with palm trees.
“In the first planting sometimes in 2012, we planted 125 hectares. We expect it to produce in three years,” he said.
The manger recalled that palm tree seedlings were taken from Cross River in 1950 to Malaysia and now brought back to grow the state economy.
He said that no fewer than 740 young people from Cross River and its environs had so far been engaged to manage the palm plantation, while the main staff of the company were 40.
He disclosed that the company would site its palm oil mills at every 5,000 hectares for the processing of the fruits into palm oil.
“The palm trees planted here were imported from our seed garden in Indonesia.
“It is an improved variety whose parents originated from Calabar after so many years of research and breeding to get a very rich and productive specie.
“In Asia, this specie produces up to 30 tonnes per hectare per year. Here we have yet to see that happen but we expect to be in the region of 22 tonnes” Dusmin said.
He added that the company already had existing nursery to produce seedlings for planting instead of importing. (NAN)