PORT MORESBY: Tzen Plantation Ltd, a Malaysian owned palm oil company in Papua New Guinea, said its new US$23mil mill underscores the group’s strong commitment to continue investing in the country’s booming agricultural sector.
TPL, which is part of the East New Britain Palm Oil Group currently have a total planted area of 6,300ha located on the New Britain island.
The owners are targeting to expand the group’s plantation size to 8,000ha by the end of the year.
With the new mill completed, the group hopes to grow its planted area to 20,000ha by end of 2016.
“We are here for the long term,” co- chairman Datuk Lim Soon Foo said in his speech at the official opening of the group’s first mill yesterday.
“The group now employs 2,000 local people and generates 1.5 million kina (RM2mil) a month off income to the local economy.”
The mill project is Soon Foo and his partner Lim Chai Beng single biggest investment at the site to date.
The new facility has the capacity to process 25 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches per hour. The Modipalm system developed by CB Industrial Product (CBIP) allows the plant’s capacity to be upgraded to 45 tonnes an hour with minimal capital expenditure.
Chai Beng, who is the managing director of CBIP, said the success of the Tzen Plantation estate could be easily replicated elsewhere in the country.
The company’s palm oil plantation project began in earnest in 2008. It was the first forest clearing area project in Papua New Guinea and as the company claims, is the most successful to date.
At the core of the group’ palm oil planting project is the rural community development programme.
“The agriculture industry is a very important sector for Papua New Guinea,” deputy prime minister Grand Chief Leo Dion said his speech at the ceremony. “The palm oil business is the most important factor in creating sustainable development of the rural community in this area.”
The palm oil industry is one of the fastest growing sector in Papua New Guinea and is attracting fresh investment especially from bigger planters in Malaysia.
The New Britain Palm Oil Ltd, which is a takeover target of Sime Darby Bhd, is located on the west side of the island.
Meanwhile Sarawak-based Rimbunan Hijau Group also has a big estate on the New Britain island.