Okomu, one of Nigeria’s largest plantations, is the country’s biggest crude palm oil (CPO) producer and second producer on the domestic rubber market.
In 1976, the Nigerian government launched a program for the creation of huge industrial palm plantations. Okomu plantation was created in the same year to address the country’s vegetable oil deficit.
The Government’s privatization program in 1990 encouraged the Socfin Group to acquire a majority stake in Okomu. Thanks to these private investments, the plantation has modern production equipment and several extensions. In 1998, crop diversification led to the introduction of rubber cultivation.
At the same time, social infrastructure was renovated or constructed: schools, housing, health centers, water points, roads, etc. A rubber factory was also constructed. Eager to optimize production while maintaining its environmental focus, the Okomu plantation embarked on the gradual replanting of its oldest palm blocks in 2006.
In 2014, Okomu further pursued growth by doubling the oil mill’s processing capacity and replanting its oldest palm and rubber blocks in order to increase production. Simultaneously, the company acquired 11 416 hectares of farmland and started planting the new blocks in 2016, in what is now called “Okomu Extension 2”.
The company’s replanting and expansion policy, which began in 2006, enabled to:
Increase production volumes every year while preserving the environment
Close the gap on the growing domestic palm oil demand.
Improve the accessibility of remote areas by repairing the roads both within and outside the plantation
Offer employment opportunities in rural areas, thereby limiting rural exodus
Support the development of regional small and medium size enterprises
Support regional community development
Provide modern medical infrastructure and equipment: health centers, a hospital, an outpatient clinic and fully equipped ambulances.
Indeed, Okomu is well aware that its development goes hand in hand with the adoption of a sustainable approach and program. It has therefore embarked on an ISO certification program, leading to its first ISO 9001 certification in 2012. However, the company did not stop there and obtained its ISO 14001 certification in 2014 and OHSAS 18001 certification in 2017.
In line with this social approach, Okomu has created and developed its plantation in harmony with the surrounding communities. The about 30 - previously very rural- villages have gradually developed, thanks to the corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, implemented by the company since 2011. This resulted in an improvement of the population’s living standards, school infrastructure, public services etc.
10% of the plantation’s surface is High Conservation Value (HCV) area and the company has entered into a partnership with the neighboring Okomu National Park to support and assist with its various conservation projects. Especially, the unification of the neighbouring HCV areas, the park and the plantation’s HCV areas, allows for free roaming of animals in the entire area.