Oil palm harvesting in South America
Palm Oil Production
Palm Estates and Smallholders
The capability to
establish and manage agro‑industrial plantations is deeply rooted in HVA's
history. Its experience record dates back to the 1920's, when the company
started its large plantations of oil palm, coconut, rubber, tea, sugar cane and
sisal in Indonesia.
During the last two
decades, HVA has become increasingly involved in projects related with vegetable
oils in various countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, thus gaining vast
experience in this field through the application of up‑to‑date know how and
Some of these projects
are highlighted below.
Oil Palm Estates
From 1983 to 1992, a
team of HVA experts has provided technical assistance to AGROINRA in Nicaragua
for the establishment of two oil palm cooperatives at "Cukra Hill" and "El
Castillo", comprising 2,500 ha oil palm each.
Since 1986 HVA experts
have been engaged in an oil palm research project at the DENPASA estate near
Belém in Brazil to trace the agent of the spear-rot disease and to try to
control this disease, endemic in Central and South America. Identical research
was carried out for a regional oil palm project in Ecuador for account of the
Ministry of Agriculture of Ecuador.
From 1969 to 1985, HVA
was co-owner and managing agent of the Victoria oil palm estate (1,650 ha) in
Surinam. The company was also entrusted with the implementation and management
of the Phedra Oil Palm Project (875 ha) and a smallholders scheme (200 ha),
located adjacent to the Victoria estate. The outgrowers project not only
covered land clearing and plantation, but also included the full
organizational set‑up, including infrastructure and credit schemes.
From 1973 to 1984, HVA
was co-owner and managing agent of the DENPASA (Dendę do Pará SA) oil palm
plantation in Benevidos, Pará State, Brazil. The project consisted of
implementation and management of an oil palm complex with an own area of 5,100
ha and an outgrowers' area of approximately 2,500 ha. Actual production in
this stage amounted to 20,000 tonnes of palm‑oil, processed by two factories.
During the entire period, three HVA-experts were permanently stationed at the
In 1974, the
Government of Surinam called on HVA to conduct a feasibility study for an oil
palm project in East Surinam resulting in a recommendation for a 30 tonnes FFB/hr
milling plant with a 5,000 ha plantation. Project implementation started in
1979 and HVA was invited to implement and manage this project and provide the
necessary agricultural and technical services.
Oil Extraction Plants
In 1992 HVA-International
conducted a study for the improvement of the operations efficiency with
respect to an oil seed plant in south-east Bolivia.
From 1990 to 1993, HVA
undertook the design, engineering and supervision on construction of 10 mini
palmoil mills (so-called village mills) in the member states of the Mano River
Union. Prerequisites were the use of locally available material and
construction facilities. A base line survey had been conducted to define the
needs and capacities of such a mill. Training programmes for the local
population, and extension services constituted essential elements. The project
included furthermore an institutional component. During the two-year project
implementation period, four experts of HVA and its local partner were
permanently stationed abroad.
From 1983 to 1992 a
team of HVA experts has been providing technical assistance to AGROINRA in
Nicaragua for the construction of palm‑oil extraction plants at the palm‑oil
cooperatives of "Cukra Hill" and "El Castillo".
From 1983 to 1987, the
HVA provided technical assistance services to the 6,000 ha Palmas del Espino
oil palm estate at Mehiza in Peru. The activities included preparation of
tender specifications, evaluation of bids and supervision during construction
on a pal moil mill with a capacity of 20 tonnes FFB/hr in the first phase, and
a final capacity of 40 tonnes/hr. Until 1989 technical assistance has been
provided to the estate.
In 1975, HVA started a
10-year involvement in Bajo Aguán Palm Oil Mills in Honduras, financed by the
Government of The Netherlands. The assignment started with a feasibility study
which resulted in the construction of two milling plants of 15 tonnes FFB/hr
each and another of 20 tonnes FFB/hr. HVA services were related to: the
preparation of tender documents, tender evaluation and assistance in contract
negotiations. Construction and commissioning were also supervised by HVA.
In 1970, HVA embarked
on the design of a palmoil mill, for the Victoria estate in Surinam, then
under development. The palmoil mill came into operation in 1974 and was
gradually extended in line with the requirements of the estate.
Edible Oil Processing
In 1986, a study was
carried out for AGROINRA to investigate the situation of the refining capacity
of edible oils in Nicaragua. The study resulted in a plan for the
establishment of a fractionation plant for palm oil and an extension of one of
the existing refineries.
In 1979, HVA prepared
a study on palm oil refining, fractionation and marketing of palm olein for
cooking oil for the Government of Indonesia. This study resulted in the start
of palm‑oil fractionation and the establishment of the first fractionation
plant in Sumatra. For the marketing of the stearin part of the fractionated
oil a study was carried out in the Middle and Far East to investigate the
possibilities of selling stearin as a raw material for ghee production.
In 1975 the Government
of Surinam invited HVA to carry out a study on the processing of crude palm
oil into cooking oil, shortening, margarine, and soap. In cooperation with EBE
in West Germany, the engineering department of HVA developed a continuous
physical refinery with a capacity of 1 t/hr. The refined oil was fractionated
with a dry system. The automation of the processing units was adapted to the
level of competence of the operators. The oil factory included a unit for the
blowing of PE bottles. The refinery started in 1977 and was extended in 1985
with a double fractionation unit, which increased the olein fraction to 80% of
the palm oil input. The hard stearin was used as a fuel for the steam boiler.
Various studies were
carried out for different clients on oil palm projects in countries like
Cameroon, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania, in addition to
similar studies in Nigeria, Ghana, Bolivia and Indonesia.
In 1999 HVA
International evaluated the agricultural, technical and processing aspects of
120,000 ha of oil palm estates and corresponding factories in Sumatra,
Indonesia. In connection with the privatisation of the Government owned estates,
the present situation was evaluated and future production plans were made.
In many studies emphasis
was put on the marketing of palm oil and its derivatives such as refined oil,
stearin and fatty acids, both for local and export markets.
In the second half of
1995, HVA was charged by the Islamic Development Bank with the evaluation of a
palm oil processing factory in Gabon, in view of its rehabilitation,
modernisation and extension.
In 1993 a study was
completed on the long-term requirements of rubber and oil palm processing
facilities in Indonesia financed by a loan from the World Bank. On the basis of
the present situation for the future rehabilitation and expansion of the
industry in Indonesia a plan was formulated. This study focused on the
agricultural, industrial, financial and marketing aspects of the sector.
In 1993 a study
commissioned by the Commission of the European Communities was conducted to
evaluate oil palm activities in Ghana. These activities comprised oil palm
estates, smallholders, and outgrowers as well as oil palm processing facilities.
Also 1993, a mid-term
review was carried out about of the rehabilitation and expansion of oil palm
production and palm oil processing in southern Nigeria. The Oil Palm Belt Rural
Development Programme has five main components: establishment of 6,500 ha of oil
palm in a nucleus and for smallholders, rehabilitation of five oil palm
companies, including their smallholders and outgrowers schemes, training, and
the implementation of micro projects.
New palm oil
technologies applied by HVA are an improvement of the fractionation technique
for the production of high volume olein for cooking oil and the research into
the manufacture of diesel fuel substitutes from the hard stearing part of the
palm‑oil. This technology may prove to be of particular interest for countries
without own crude mineral oil resources.
engineers are particularly active in applying appropriate new technologies for
the palm oil industry in developing countries. The principle of small mobile
units within the concept of mini mills for the extraction of palm oil is
characteristic of the HVA approach to boost edible oil production in remote
These projects, combined
with HVA's in‑depth knowledge of different processing techniques for other
vegetable oils and of marketing of downstream products, strengthened HVA's
ability to cope with all problems related to planning, implementation and
successful management of processing projects for vegetable oils through
technical assistance contracts.
For More Information Contact:
Paalbergweg 30, 1105 BV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
P.O. Box 12204, 1100 AE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 7372164