Wilmar, one of the world’s largest palm oil traders, is investing $10 million to establish an oil palm plantation in Kalangala, Uganda over the next three years, reports Bernama, Malaysia’s state new agency. The investment is the first in Uganda by a Malaysian oil palm developer.
Maggie Kigozi told Bernama that Wilmar is expected to expand the plantation project, increasing its investment.
“Uganda has vast tracks of land, suitable for oil palm plantations,” Kigozi was quoted as saying. “It’s a huge opportunity.”
“We hope more Malaysian investors will come here to invest not only in the plantation sector but also in tourism and agriculture.”
In recent years Uganda has looked toward foreign investors to launch an industrial palm oil industry in the country but has been thwarted by protests over environmental concerns. A plan to log thousands of hectares of rainforest on Bugala island in Lake Victoria for a palm oil plantation was strongly opposed and subsequently shelved in 2007. It’s unclear whether Wilmar’s plantation, which will be located in the same region, will face similar worries.
Wilmar’s investment comes as the Malaysian palm oil industry has signaled interest in expanding overseas. Facing land constraints at home, Malaysian oil palm developers, including FELDA, Malaysia’s development agency, have in the past two years announced projects in Papua New Guinea, Liberia, Brazil, and Indonesia.
(11/04/2008) Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni — a leader who has repeatedly sought to hand forest areas over to industrial developers and undermine the sanctity of reserves — is now blaming the country’s forestry agency for deforestation in Uganda.
(12/21/2007) Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni on Friday revived a controversial plan to grant a forest reserve to commercial sugar cane interests.
(10/18/2007) Uganda’s government abandoned a controversial plan to grant protected rainforest land to a sugar company, reports Reuters.
(05/27/2007) The Ugandan government abandoned plans to log thousands of hectares of rainforest on Bugala island in Lake Victoria for a palm oil plantation, Reuters reported Saturday.
(05/23/2007) Uganda’s cabinet has suspended a proposal to allow a sugarcane grower to convert part of Mabria rainforest reserve for a plantation, reports Reuters. The plan, a pet project of president Yoweri Museveni, faced widespread opposition that was capped by deadly riots.
(03/26/2007) Uganda’s prime minister Apolo Nsibambi has approved a plan to clear thousands of hectares of protected rainforest for a sugarcane plantation, reported the New Vision newspaper, a government-owned publication.
(02/18/2007) Uganda may soon have a new species of monkey according to a report published in Kampala’s New Vision newspaper. Dr. Colin Groves of the Australian National University told New Vision that the local population of the gray-cheeked mangabey (Lophocebus albigena) will soon be designated as a unique species, the Ugandan gray-cheeked mangabey (Lophocebus ugandae).
(12/15/2006) In recent months Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has moved to destroy some of Uganda’s last remaining primary rainforests to give land to politically-connected plantation owners. Personally intervening in two disputes, one in Mabira Forest Reserve and the other on Bugala island in Lake Victoria, Museveni has argued that his country urgently needs such projects to industrialize and bring a better quality of life to Ugandans. He would be wrong.
(12/12/2006) Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has again taken action against rainforest conservation in Uganda, moving to hand a protected forest reserve over to private agricultural interests intent on clearing trees, according to a report from Reuters.
(11/30/2006) A plan to clear a protected forest reserve for sugar cane has sparked controversy in Uganda according to a report from Reuters. Uganda-based Mehta Group, owner of a sugar plantation that borders Mabira forest, a nature reserve since 1932, asked Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to consider a proposal that would level about 7,000 hectares, or about a quarter of the reserve which is home to 312 species of tree, 287 species of bird and 199 species of butterfly.