Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ramu seeks to hike palm oil production


RAMU Agri Industries Ltd is looking at increasing the capacity of its mill at Gusap in the Ramu Valley to process 45 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) per hour by the end of next year, The National reports.
 The current mill at Gusap, which has been in operation since March 2008, was the first to be established in the Momase region with a capacity of 30 tonnes of FFB per hours.
“We are expanding to go up to 45 tonnes an hour,” assistant mill manager John Kuloi told The National in Gusap.
Kulo at work in the mill last Friday.-Nationalpics by MALUM NALU

“All the upgrading on now is to take us up to there.”
Fruit come from Gusap and Dumpu estates, the latter located in the Usino-Bundi area of Madang province past Gusap.
“Ninety-eight per cent of the fruit is from the company estates, while 2% is from smallholders,” Kuloi said.
“We have 99 employees, most of whom are nationals, and only one expatriate in mill manager Geoff Downs.
“We operate two shifts.
“We have a maintenance crew, an administration crew, and a project upgrading crew.
Fresh fruit being boiled in the mill last Friday.

“Our storage capacity at the Gusap mill is 2,000mt of crude palm oil (CPO) held in two tanks of 1,000mt  each, and a tank of palm kernel oil (PKO) with a storage of 250 metric tonnes.
“We have a separate oil storage facility in Lae.
“It has a capacity of 5,000 tonnes crude palm oil and 600 tonnes palm kernel oil.
“With upgrading, the total in Lae will go up to 7,500 tonnes crude palm oil while palm kernel oil will remain constant at 600 tonnes.”
RAIL has been part of the New Britain Palm Oil (NBPOL) Group – a world leader in the palm oil industry - since 2008.
According to NBPOL’s 2011 annual report, the new plantings at RAIL were carried out at the beginning of the year and at the new mini-estate at Ngaru under the lease/lease-lease model at the end of the year.
“There remains approximately 1,400ha of customary land that is likely to become available in the near future,” the report said.
“Nearly 2,000ha of additional customary land have been identified, and there is potentially much more along both the Markham and Ramu valleys.
“A significant proportion of the soils in the Ramu Valley are threaded with gravel streams, a legacy of major landslips due to young igneous rock, coupled with high tectonic activity and heavy rains.
“The water-holding capacity in these soils is poor, leading to soil moisture deficits during the drier part of the year.
“In response to the challenge, RAIL has embarked on an ambitious plan to trial several irrigation delivery systems over an area of 1,100ha.
“Irrigated palms on land with significant soil moisture deficit will potentially yield 50% more fruit, like for example, an additional 10t/ha of FFB per annum.”
As reported in The National yesterday, the biggest-ever multi-million kina water irrigation project in PNG is being built at Gusap by RAIL for its palm oil estate.
The 440km long irrigation project, the first of its kind in PNG, is at the core of RAIL’s plans for palm oil expansion in Gusap and could set the benchmark for such similar projects in the country

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