Decline of a promising sector (picture agridigitale)

For Eric Yebo, a farmer specialized in oil palm plantation for more than 15 years, the current fate of plantations is due to the decline in productivity. In the area, two varieties of oil palms are planted. Ordinary palms and selected palms.

The number of palm plantations selected increased thanks to a project financed by European Union which reduced the unit price of the seedlings to 300 CFA between 2000 and 2002.

"We set up our plantation in 2002. Right after that, the cooperation with the European Union was cut off and the white spots also disappeared, and they had to be ordered from Benin or Ivory Coast, what is very expensive," he told agridigitale.

Today, in Eric's plantation, new cocoa plants are being planted instead of palm trees.

"If you look in the area, most of the selected palm plantations are between 15 and 17. At these ages, they are no longer profitable because in the area, the selected oil palm is more profitable at 8, 9 or even 10 years with a production up to 25 tons per hectare. After this period, production falls, so we decided to replace this palm plantation with cocoa trees, " he informed.

There is also the problem of the market

If palm trees are no longer productive in the zone, the market is also part of the reasons for the demotivation of producers in the region.

Various testimonials target the bad game of pass between the National Society and palm oil mills (SONAPH) and BANAMBA S.A. company.

"The purchase of SONAPH by BANAMBA coincided with the start of the planting of the selected palm trees financed by the European Union, which made it difficult for the company to find the most important raw material. The socio-political crisis also caused the destruction of SONAPH’s field. Nowadays, what we sell 450,000 CFA is sold 150,000 CFA to women who produce palm oil ", say some former planters met.

KALYAN further from the planters

The Kalyan Group has set up an oil palm plantation project that will lead to the production of 24,000 tons of palm oil to cover the country's 18,000 tons’ importation. For several planters, the prices set by Kalyan are out of reach.

"With Kalyan, 1 plant is 2000 CFA against 300 CFA as before. One hectare will cost up to 300.000 CFA only for the purchase of plants," denounce some planters.

Others believe that the bags used by the company are too big and do not facilitate transport and suggest not only to review the shape of the bags where the plants are placed but also, reduce the cost.

Palm oil sector is a good hope for the national economy. If today planters are forced to cut down their palms to replace with Cocoa, it means that is serious. In the same area, there are old barren plantations that no longer produce.

The state in its policy of agricultural revival can already take into account these concerns and revive this sector.

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