CÔTE D’IVOIRE – Chinese group Hunan No.6 Engineering Co, a specialty in the design and construction of industrial projects has launched the construction of a palm oil production unit in the Lôh-Djiboua region in the south-west of the country.
Ecofin Agency reports that this initiative is part of a cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire and China, scheduled to last 18 months and the factory, once operational, should create 500 new jobs.
Côte d’Ivoire is the leading exporter of crude palm oil in Africa. The country which wishes to consolidate its position encourages private operators to invest more in the processing segment.
According to Lu Wenbin, general manager of the Chinese company, the Lôh-Djiboua unit is part of a series of 11 processing plants to be built by his company on Ivorian territory at a total cost of US$200 million for the benefit of oil palm and rubber sectors.
According to information relayed by the Ivorian Press Agency (AIP), the new unit, which will occupy an area of 2.5 hectares, is based on a 22-hectare site.
The unit will have a production capacity of 100,000 tonnes of palm oil per year. In addition, the project includes the establishment of new oil palm plantations as well as the supervision of planters.
The investment comes at a time when ReportLinker, a reputable market research specialist, reported that Ivorian palm oil consumption is predicted to reach 323,000 metric tons by 2026, an increase of 2% year-on-year.
In addition, since 2017, Ivorian demand has grown by 0.6% annually, with the country ranking 12th in the world in 2021.
In Côte d’Ivoire, the processing of palm nuts is the work of 16 large oil mills and several other small and medium-sized oil mills. In total, these facilities have the capacity to process 800 tons of palms per hour according to USDA data from 2022.
Growing demand for palm oil in West Africa has made local production a top priority to reduce reliance on imports from Asia.
Recently, PALMCI, a subsidiary of SIFCA and the first producer of crude palm oil in Côte d’Ivoire snapped up SAO and TCI from Touton Négoce Côte d’Ivoire to allow SIFCA and its subsidiary PALMCI control of palm oil plantations in Abengourou, Zabeza, and Soubre, further extending its palm oil production capabilities.
A subsidiary of SIFCA since 1997, PALMCI operates palm oil plantations and produces crude palm oil and palm kernel oil.