Devsur: Chinese investor to breathe new life into palm oil industry

Chinese investor to breathe new life into palm oil industry
May 3, 2011 | Author DevSur
PARAMARIBO–Suriname’s palm oil industry is getting a new lease on life with the capital injection by China Zhong Heng Tai Investment (CZHT) company. The Chinese investor and Suriname’s Government signed a memorandum of understanding in April, which will not only see the obe palm fields of Patamacca back in bloom, but also restart the factory that was officially closed in 2004.

In its heyday back in the seventies through the eighties, the palm oil
industry of Patamacca on a 40,000 hectare area in the eastern Marowijne
District, was Suriname’s main source of cooking oil. The vegetable oil
was produced fairly simple: machinery literally crushed and squeezed the
oil from the pittless, fibrous fruit of the obe palm. Patamacca oil
rivaled any imported name brand cooking oil on supermarket shelves, but,
folllowing the destruction of Patamacca’s infrastructure during the
armed conflict that raged in the inlands in the late eighties, the
company closed; China Zhong Heng Tai has already provided a US$4.5
million dollar guarantee from the Chinese government to restart

The company will ship in palm seedlings from Malaisa, which are
resistant to palm rot, a disease that used to wreak havoc on Patamacca’s
farm. In the first instance, 2000 hectares will be sowed with palms,
while experiments on another 6,000 hectares should teach which other
agricultural products can be grown in the area for export.

Lloyd Nemelc, Director of the Agriculture Company Patamacca LMP NV is
adamant that the resumption of business will benefit the Marowijne
community. Initially, local residents, fearing that China Zhong Heng Tai
Investment would hire only immigrant workers from China, resisted the
project. “That was a wrong assumption; the people from Marowijne have
first preference for jobs. Of course the company will bring its own
management team up, but the Ministry of Labor has insisted that locals
be hired as much as possible, for market conform salaries,” Nemelc said.
He said workers from the defunct company who are still available, are in
high demand.

The Director said that the Chinese investor has also agreed to rebuild
the old staff village that was destroyed during the conflict. Some US$ 6
million will be invested in renovating the houses, offices and school.
“The abandoned, dilapidated factory has to be rebuilt from the round up,
but it should be running within three years,” Nemelc told De Ware Tijd

Lees het originele bericht op de website van Devsur (Your Suriname news source)

Selma Zijlstra

05 mei 2011