Origination: At the Plantations
Wilmar engages in oil palm cultivation and milling, and is one of the largest oil palm plantation owners in Indonesia and Malaysia. Our oil palm plantations are strategically located in the various regions of Malaysia and Indonesia where the climatic conditions are suitable for planting oil palms. In Indonesia, our plantations are located in Sumatra, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan (southern region) while in Malaysia, they are located in the states of Sabah and Sarawak. In addition, the Group also owns oil palm plantations in Ghana and through joint ventures, owns plantations in Uganda and West Africa. As at 31 December 2017, Wilmar had approximately 239,935 hectares (ha) of planted area of which about 68% is located in Indonesia, 24% in East Malaysia and 8% in Africa.
In addition to holding land rights to plantation land, we manage approximately 34,772 ha of oil palm plantation under the smallholders scheme in Indonesia and Africa as at 31 December 2017. The Plasma Programme is an initiative designed for the development of oil palm plantations for smallholders by a developer of plantations. We are committed to purchasing all the fruits produced by the small landholders’ plantations.
Wilmar intends to grow its plantation business through greenfield projects and acquisitions to tap on the growing demand for palm oil.
Apart from plantations, Wilmar also owns palm oil mills to process fruits from our own and surrounding plantations. The key products of oil palm cultivation and milling are crude palm oil and palm kernel which are mostly supplied to our Tropical Oils Manufacturing.
View map of Wilmar’s plantations and palm oil mills.
Germinated seeds are planted and the seedlings spend about a year in the nursery before being transferred to the fields. Here, the young palms are planted about nine metres apart resulting in 128 to 140 trees per hectare.
Oil palms generally begin to produce fruits 30 months after being planted in the fields with commercial harvest commencing six months later. However, the yield of an oil palm is relatively low at this stage. As the oil palm continues to mature, its yield increases and it reaches peak production in years seven to 18. Yield starts to gradually decrease after 18 years. The typical commercial lifespan of an oil palm is approximately 25 years.
Fully mature oil palms produce 18 to 30 metric tonnes of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) per hectare. The yield depends on a variety of factors, including age, seed quality, soil and climatic conditions, quality of plantation management and the timely harvesting and processing of FFB.
The ripeness of FFB harvested is critical in maximising the quality and quantity of palm oil extracted. Harvested fruits must be processed within 24 hours to minimise the build-up of fatty acids.
Milling of FFB takes place within 24 hours from the harvesting of FFB. FFB are first transferred to the palm oil mills for sterilisation by applying high-pressure steam, whereupon the palm fruits are enzyme-deactivated and separated from the palm bunches.
After steaming, the palm fruitlets are crushed in a pressing machine to obtain crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel. Waste and water is then cleared and separated from the CPO by means of a centrifuge. The cleared crude palm oil emerging from the centrifuge is then sent for refining while the palm kernel nut is sent for crushing. The empty fruit bunches and liquid waste arising from the process are recycled as fertiliser in the plantations.
We have built a strong team of hands-on managers and staff who are devoted to the common objective of achieving the highest standards for our plantations. Wilmar is committed to the use of best management practices, which include good field and harvesting standards and timely application of fertilisers to optimise crop yields. We have also established stringent sustainability policies and procedures to ensure that our plantations are developed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.