NERICA-4 and 7 varieties of rice growing on 1,200 ha of a 10,000 ha concession that Canadian company Feronia controls in the Bas-Congo province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
TORONTO, ONTARIO, Nov 30, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Editors Note: There are two photos associated with this release.
Feronia Inc. ("Feronia" or the "Company") CA:FRN +6.67% today announced that Feronia PEK SARL, its arable farming division, has completed the planting of 1,200 hectares of rice.
Feronia Arable holds a 10,000 hectare concession in the Bas-Congo province of the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC"), approximately 200km from both the deep water ports of Boma and Matadi and the national capital, Kinshasa. The Company has cleared 2,000 hectares of land and planted NERICA-4 and 7 variety rice on 1,200 hectares using a Weaving Drill. The operations at Feronia Arable are fully mechanized using John Deere and Massey Ferguson tractors. The soil acidity was corrected through the application of lime sourced locally and fertilized using an NPK blend that was imported from Europe. This crop is expected to be harvested and processed in February, 2012. After the rice is harvested Feronia Arable anticipates re-planting the land with edible beans with harvesting anticipated in May, 2012.
"This is an exciting milestone for Feronia's arable farming operations" said Feronia COO, Raymond Batanga. "We have proven that we can source all the necessary inputs and equipment and mobilize the required expertise to implement large-scale mechanized farming in the DRC. While we had planned to reach 2,000 ha on our first large-scale planting, a delay in the arrival of our large horsepower tractors meant that our larger drills were not utilized throughout the entire sowing period and fewer hectares were sown. We are confident that this will not be an issue in our next rice planting season and are pleased to have completed the largest single rice planting in DRC - a huge milestone for Feronia's arable operations."
Feronia CEO Bill Dry added "We are very pleased that the arable farming operation has succeeded in its primary 2011 objective of sowing a commercial crop of rice. We will gather valuable data from each successive crop that will allow us to optimize the performance of the operation over time. Feronia is positioning itself to increase the scale of the arable farming operations aggressively once we have achieved sufficient confidence in the operating performance on a 2,000 hectare unit and thereby significantly de-risked the expansion."
The Company is also pleased to welcome Mr. Michael Parker to the senior management team. Mr. Parker joined the Company as Farm Director in October 2011. Educated at Harper Adams(UK), Mr. Parker has 30 years of farming experience of which 22 years have been spent in emerging markets including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. He brings the Company vast operating experience in mechanized arable cropping including rice, barley and maize.
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 .