TORONTO, ONTARIO – May 9, 2011: Feronia Inc. (“Feronia” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: FRN) is pleased to announce that it has received an order for 756,000 oil palm seeds from a West African operator. This is the largest individual seed order received by the Company to date.
“We are pleased by the continued positive momentum in our seed business” commented Bill Dry, COO of Feronia Oil Palm. “We have received indications of interest from several groups planting oil palms globally. Decades of research and development have gone into the development of our seeds and resulted in excellent yields and resistance to key diseases including Fusarium Wilt, a major issue for oil palms in Africa. We are investing in the expansion of our programme to meet increased demand internally and globally from new and existing customers.”
Yaligimba Seeds is the oil palm seed sales division of Feronia Inc. The division is the beneficiary of decades of seed breeding experience and accumulated data at Yaligimba Research Station, the oil palm research division of Feronia Inc. Over 50,000 individual palms are under detailed field recording at any one time and the programme is considered to be one of the most extensive within the industry. Through a combined breeding programme with Harrisons and Crosfield the company has elite material from Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The programme also includes the best material from Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon and other key Democratic Republic of Congo origins.
Yaligimba Seeds’ oil palm seeds are produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo through a rigorous program of parental selection and testing at the Yaligimba Research Station. Dura parents are selected both from DxD crosses and DxT and TxT crosses. They are:
Give early yields to increase profitability
Give high yields of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) reaching as high as 30 t FFB/ha in ideal conditions
Demonstrate exceptional bunch characteristics giving high extraction ratios on milling
Pisifera palms are selected from progenies with outstanding yields. The crossing programme is designed to bring together the best characteristics from a wide range of origins. The best duras are selected on the basis of oil yield and vegetative characters, including reduced height increment and above average bunch index (the ratio of fruit dry weight to total dry matter). The progenies are evaluated in field trials for yield and disease resistance and only elite pisifera parents are used for commercial seed production.
Control and Germination
The presence of dura in plantings from commercially produced DxP material plantings may follow inadequately controlled pollination. This inevitably leads to lower profits. In stringent DxP surveys, Yaligimba Seeds’ oil palm seed regularly shows contamination less than 0.5% dura in palms.
The application of very high quality standards throughout production ensures every seed is healthy. We guarantee that customers will get 85% germination with our dry heat-treated seed. The process is simple and full germination instructions are supplied with each consignment. Some customers have achieved in excess of 95% germination.
Disease Resistance and Seed Health
Vascular wilt disease caused by Fusarium Oxysporum f.sp.elaeidis is a major problem in Africa. To combat this disease selected resistant material such as Yaligimba Seeds Wilt Resistant seed must be planted.
In the Feronia programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo, screening for resistance is done in the field as well as the nursery. This means that parent plants that consistently transmit resistance to their offspring can be identified and selected resulting in seed with superior disease resistance.
The oil palm seeds are scrupulously cleaned and carefully treated with protectant fungicides and insecticides. High priority has been given to eliminating progenies with susceptibility to diseases such as Cercospora.
In a joint research project with Bath University, Yaligimba Research Station developed a technique which removes all fungi including Fusarium spores, even those between the kernel and shell. The seed is subjected to this special treatment prior to export.
About Feronia Inc.
Feronia Inc. is a large-scale commercial farmland and plantation operator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”). The Company uses modern agricultural practices to operate and develop its oil palm plantations and arable farming business division. Feronia believes in the immense agricultural potential of the DRC for high-quality foodstuffs and edible oils given its ideal climate, excellent soil and highly skilled and experienced workforce. Feronia’s management team is comprised of senior agriculturalists with extensive experience in managing both plantations and large-scale mechanized farming operations in emerging markets. Feronia is committed to sustainable agriculture, environmental protection and providing support for local communities. For more information please see, www.feronia.com.
Except for statements of historical fact contained herein, the information in this press release constitutes “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities law. Such forward-looking information may be identified by words such as “plans”, “proposes”, “estimates”, “intends”, “expects”, “believes”, “may”, “will” and include without limitation, statements regarding the stated use of proceeds; plan of operations and comparative advantages; and benefits of this investment. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate; actual results and future events could differ materially from such statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, among others, regulatory risks, risks inherent in foreign operations, commodity prices, competition, and investments having no history of operations. Most of these factors are outside the control of the Company. Investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking information. Except as otherwise required by applicable securities statutes or regulation, the Company expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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