Olam Palm Gabon – a joint venture with the government of Gabon – is part of our plan to support the development of the agricultural economy – to broad-base the Gabon economy, reduce food imports, create employment opportunities and tackle poverty in the country.
In 2021 OPG delivered net volumes of crude palm oil (CPO) close to 100,000 tonnes including 22,000 tonnes of refined palm oil. The business strengthened its customer relationships and retained its preferred supplier status for customers in Europe and Cameroon.
The business has implemented the largest irrigation project in a palm plantation in the world. The sub-surface drip irrigation system will improve irrigation of 23,089 ha of planted land. By introducing mechanical spraying, we have improved productivity eight-fold. Both productivity and efficiency are being improved by the construction and repair of 1,700 km of roads which helps efficient crop transportation.
In the markets where we operate, we are committed to creating employment opportunities for nationals. Over 97% of our 4,000-strong palm workforce is Gabonese, with a continued focus on developing local talent to assume supervisory and managerial roles.
By 2025, our global goal is that local talent should hold 50% of leadership roles in their own market. In 2021, the number of Gabonese nationals in estate manager positions increased to 58% with a further 32% of critical positions held by local talent.
We’re committed to sustainable palm oil production. We’re the largest fully certified Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) producer in Africa with an overall concession area of 202,000 ha, with 50% (99,000 ha) of High Conservation Value (HCV) forest, wetlands and savannah permanently protected.
Our plantations are the only ones globally to have been independently assessed as climate positive (net draw-down of atmospheric carbon), and were recognised at the inaugural 2019 RSPO Excellence Awards for a strong commitment to establishing sustainable oil palm plantations, which generate net positive impacts through forest conservation.
Olam Palm Gabon operates two palm oil mills and one palm kernel crushing plant, sourcing 99.99% fresh fruit bunches from our own plantations as well as one edible oil refinery, where we refine crude palm oil to produce cooking oil sold in consumer packs directly to service the local Gabonese market.
A third palm oil mill has been commissioned, which will increase processing capacity to meet the future increase in yields. Supply chain facilities are being enhanced to offer fully segregated as well as identity preserved palm products.
Managing palm plantations in a biodiversity rich country like Gabon requires extensive efforts to support and safeguard the country’s natural heritage. Olam Palm Gabon (OGP) employs a 100-strong team dedicated to enforcing rigorous standards designed to protect the areas of High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) that make up 50% of our palm concessions.