Wed, 05 Dec 2007

PT Astra Agro Lestari will increase the size of its oil palm plantations by 13% to meet demand from India and China and provide for the use of palm oil as an alternate fuel, the International Herald Tribune reported on Monday (26/11/07).

The company will add 30,000 hectares of oil palm plantations in Aceh, East Kalimantan and in Sulawesi next year, it quoted company president director Widya Wiryawan as saying.

Astra Agro had 228,000 hectares of oil palm plantations at the end of October.

During the first nine months of this year, India and China imported the equivalent of 55% of output last year in Indonesia, the largest producer in the world of palm oil.

“We just can't fulfill demand,” Wiryawan said. “Demand will increase in the future and that's why the company plans to acquire more land.”

Palm oil purchases by India from Indonesia rose 32% to 2.62 million tons in the January-to-September period, while the amount bought by China increased 1% to 3.9 million tons.

Meanwhile Golden Agri Resources Ltd, a subsidiary of the Sinar Mas Group listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, also said it would launch a big expansion plan in its oil palm plantation business in Indonesia.

Golden Agri plans to invest Rp23.7 trillion ($2.535 billion) to expand its oil palm plantations by 948,000 hectares to bring its total oil palm plantation to 1.3 million hectares in the next several years.

The expansion will make it the world's largest integrated palm oil industry.