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General News Wed, 22 Jan 2003

PSI on Oil Palm to be launched in April

The President's Initiative on Oil Palm would be launched nation-wide in April, this year.

The venue and other logistics were being worked out by a four-member Committee headed by Nana Otuo Siriboe II, Juabenhene.

This was disclosed by Mr Kwabena Agyapong, Press Secretary to the President when briefing the Presidential Press Corps after the Committee had presented its Interim Report to President John Agyekum Kufuor at the Castle, Osu on Tuesday.

He said President Kufuor had directed the Ministries of Finance and Trade and Industry to liaise with the Committee to work efficiently and effectively.

Mr Agyapong said the Committee was of the view that the Oil Palm Industry had great potentials and the benefits to be accrued from it to the economy could make a tremendous impact.

He said the Committee had initiated nursery plantations to cultivate 100,000 hectares over the next three years to make up for the shortfall of the 940,000 tonnes in local consumption of palm oil.

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The Press Secretary said individuals had to import about 940,000 tonnes of palm oil annually in addition to 1.2 million tones in the Sub-Region.

He said the Committee noted that it would require 300,000 hectares of oil palm plantations to satisfy this demand and required an aggressive support from the government to offer an opportunity for wealth and job creation as well as improvement in the quality of lives in the rural areas.

Mr Agyapong said nucleus farms, small-holder farms and out-grower schemes would be established to feed oil mills in areas known to be viable for oil palm plantation in the country.

He said to mitigate problems of land litigation, the Committee suggested that reclaimed lands in mining areas should be used as the stock of land for prospective investors in the industry.

Other members of the Committee are, Mr Ishmael Yamson, Chairman of UNILEVER, Mr Kwasi Poku a Chemical Engineer and Dr J.B. Wonkyi-Appiah, former Director of the Oil Palm Institute.

The President had initiated other Special Initiatives, these were the Cassava Starch for Industrial purposes and Textiles and Garments.

Source: GNA
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