Palm cultivation in Gabon: Making progress
By Supramaniam R. Ramasamy, President & Global Head, Palm and Rubber Plantations
Backed by strong sponsor commitment, Olam Palm Gabon (OPG) has achieved significant milestones since inception. Africa had not seen sustainable, large-scale palm developments in recent years until OPG successfully planted 31,500 hectares across two sites (Awala and Mouila) in Gabon. The total area planted by OPG in the past two years accounts for more than 50% of new palm acreage in all of Africa over that period.
The area planted and the attractiveness of Gabon as a location for palm plantation establishment is even more notable when considering that many other palm development projects in the wider region have suffered major setbacks due to political risks, difficulty in securing large land banks without incumbrances, community issues and unclear policies.
Our journey has been characterised by teamwork and collaboration. Since inception four years ago, OPG has successfully built a team of more than 5,200 people who have been intimately involved in shaping our model tailored to succeed as an upstream operation in the Africa context. Gathering a strong core management team that combines global skills and experience with local context and knowledge has been fundamental.
While the land and agro-climatic suitability of production factors in Gabon match palm producing countries in Asia, our early stage commitment to developing and implementing the best agronomy practices and careful selection of the right planting materials also laid a solid foundation for success.