Asare Odometa Plantations Limited (AOPL) is an agro-business registered in 2008 to promote palm oil production with the view to address the large unmet demand for locally produced palm oil.
The company is located in Odometa, a farming community three kilometers to the west of Asesewa in the Upper Manya Krobo District of the Eastern Region.
AOPL's products are as follows:
1. Palm Oil. Palm fruits are processed into palm oil on the same day of harvest to minimize the development of free fatty acids.
2. Oil palm seedlings. Germinated seed nuts are bought from CSIR- Oil Palm Research Institute and nurtured for almost a year using drip and sprinkler irrigation. The matured seedlings are sold to farmers when the rains begin in about May/June of every year. Technical support is given to the farmers during the immature period of three years.
3. Pigs, sheep and goats.
AOPL’s main business of palm oil production may appear different from the other agricultural activities of, rearing of pigs, sheep and goats but all these are actually complementary. Waste material of pigs, sheep and goats are used as compost to fertilise palm trees (as against excessive use of more expensive chemical fertilisers) to improve crop yields. The pigs also feed on palm kernel cake, residue of palm oil, and dried cassava peels. Livestock rearing in addition to palm oil production is therefore a way of managing waste from total operations to enhance environmental quality and improvement of yields and profits.
Unavailability of large tracts of land (i.e. over say 4,000 hectares) is currently a limiting factor for the formation of big plantation companies like we have in the Western, Central and Eastern Regions of Ghana. The way to grow the oil palm industry in Ghana is therefore through small out grower projects such as AOPL is implementing.
Most of the palm oil consumed in the country is produced by local small scale processors who operate from unhygienic and poorly maintained structures. Sanitation at most of these processing sites is poor and quality of oil produced is low. Palm fruits in most of these mills are dried on the bare ground and milled say a week after harvest resulting in exposure to contamination and health hazards. Palm Oil from AOPL’s mill is extracted on same day fruits are harvested to ensure good quality oil, low free fatty acids and prolonged shelf life.
For a sustainable palm oil production, AOPL's has entered into a binding programme with ninety-eight farmers in the catchment area to cultivate three hundred hectares of oil palm over a three year period which began in 2013. In pursuit of this goal, AOPL assisted this group of farmers to secure a term loan from the Out grower and Value Chain Fund (OVCF)- a collaboration between the Ghana Government and the German Development Organization. Loan to out growers is to pay for oil palm development cost during the first three years when no harvest is expected.
Under this financing agreement, Upper Manya Kro Rural Bank is the Financial Operator providing financial services. AOPL as the Technical Operator provides technical advice and inputs to the Association of Oil Palm farmers. Again AOPL is responsible for purchasing the totality of palm fruits produced by the farmers. To achieve this goal, AOPL obtained funding from OVCF to buy and install a 800kg/hour continuous processing mill from Rentec in Belgium.
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