New Britain Palm Oil Eyes 20 Percent Output Jump

JAKARTA: Improving farming techniques at planter New Britain Palm Oil (NBPO) is likely to result in output jumping by about 20 per cent this year to more than 500,000 tonnes, its executive director Alan Chaytor said yesterday.

Production at the Australiasian palm oil producer was 479,000 tonnes last year, Chaytor said.

“Analysts have got us at about 20 per cent increase in our last numbers at 2010,” he said, whose firm is majority-owned by Malaysian planter Kulim.

“Predominantly it’s fertiliser application, some milling improvements and getting the yield extraction rates up.”

Founded in 1967, NBPO, which is headquartered in Papua New Guinea and Singapore, had 76,000 hectares in 2010 and targets growth of 6,000-7,000ha a year, Chaytor added.

It has a 42,000ha managed by independent small-holders. NBPO’s plantations are at six sites, with the majority located in Papua New Guinea, while it has about 40,000ha of unplanted landbank.

Over 90 per cent of its palm oil is bought by European consumers, which includes United Biscuits, Britain’s biggest snack food group and Italian confectionery company Ferrero, Chaytor said.

Palm oil firms in Indonesia, the world’s top producer, are struggling to meet their planting targets after torrential rains last year stalled work.

In Southeast Asia, which produces more than 90 per cent of the world’s palm oil, there is a limited pool of specialised labour available for plantation work, and a skilled workforce is even more important to planters working toward boosting yields.

“Thankfully labour is not too much of an issue,” said Chaytor on Papua New Guinea.

“We’re the largest private employer in the country. We employ 22,000 directly.” – Reuters

Source : Business Times

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