A local plantation executive has called on the Ghanaian government and policy-makers to review policies on palm oil production to create a favourable business environment for the industry.

Samuel Avaala, the General Manager of Benso Oil Palm Plantation Limited (BOPP), says this will enable the private sector and the government to collaborate to make the industry stand equal to the cocoa industry in creating wealth for rural communities and boosting the economy.

Avaala made the call last Friday at a gathering for workers, independent palm fruit suppliers and local communities, including smallholder farmers who work with the company in Benso in Western Region (Province) where the company’s oil palm planations are located.

Citing instances of bottlenecks faced by the industry, he said the company paid 1.0 million cedis (about 9,800 US dollars) for domestic energy alone this year whereas the company’s direct cost of processing a tonne of fresh fruit bunches was about seven USD, the corresponding indirect cost was about 10 USD.

To this end, the company would, from the next production year, begin to pay a 12.5 per cent corporate tax when there was no such tax previously, he said. Is this not high cost of doing business in Ghana? he asked.

Avaala said although Ghana was a net importer of crude palm oil although it possessed the climatic conditions suitable for cultivation of oil palm, there were challenges with land acquisition coupled with a lack of long-term capital for agriculture, particularly tree crops.

He appealed to the country’s traditional rulers, district assemblies, development partners and other stakeholders to address this problem so that investors could expand nucleus estates and smallholder and out-grower schemes.