French consortium invests US$50 million in palm oil production in Sao Tome and Principe

23 July 2009

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 23 July – French consortium SOCSINCO plans to invest US$50 million in a palm oil factory at Roça Sundy, on the island of Principe, and refurbish the Ribeira Peixe oil factory, in Sao Tome, Portuguese news agency Lusa reported Wednesday.

As part of this investment, the Sao Tome state has provided the French company with 900 hectares of land to plant the palm grove, said Jean-Marie Ecrepont, SOCSINCO’s representative on the archipelago.

“It is a rural development project in the south of Sao Tome and the northern area of the island of Principe,” said Ecrepont, noting that, “the ecosystem in that region is very favourable to growing palm trees.”

According to projections, over the next three to five years the factories at Sundy and Ribeira Peixe will produce around 25,000 tonnes of refined palm oil per year, “to supply the domestic market and export to countries in the sub-region,” said the SOCSINCO representative.

According to studies carried out by the French investors, “the current need to supply the domestic market is 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes (of palm oil) per year.”

Over 1,000 direct jobs are expected to be created, “and perhaps the same amount of indirect workers,” said Ecrepont.

The project has already been presented to the Sao Tome government and the State plans to grant it a 25-year renewable contract.

“The first production will start to leave the factories within the next three to five years,” Ecrepont added.

Sao Tome’s Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development and fishing said that the process was evolving and that the Government may soon sign the contract with SOSINCO. (macauhub)