By Moses Ebosele, firstname.lastname@example.org —
The Federal Government of Nigeria has honoured the Founder of Presco Plc and Siat Nigeria Limited, Mr Pierre Vandebeeck with a National Award in recognition of his contributions to the development of Nigeria’s economy.
President Muhammadu Buhari conferred the National Honours Award of the Order of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria (OFR) on Vandebeeck on Tuesday at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Vandebeeck was among the recipients of Awards at the investiture of distinguished Nigerians and foreigners by President Buhari at the 2022 National Honours Awards.
Speaking on the Award, Vandebeeck, who was accompanied by his wife, Managing Director of Presco Plc, Felix Nwabuko and his wife, Fidelia, commended Nigeria for recognizing his contributions to economic growth in the last 50 years.
Vandebeeck also projected economic growth for Nigeria, especially in the area of agriculture and oil palm development.
Making reference to oil palm production, Vandebeeck said: “Expect more growth and more dividends for Shareholders of Presco Plc.”
Vandebeeck, a Belgian National, is an Officer of The Order of the Crown of Belgium, was Honorary Consul of Belgium for Gabon and was also conferred with the Distinguished Service Star of Rivers State of Nigeria (DSSRS).
Vandebeeck, has been part and parcel of Nigeria’s economic growth, especially in the Agricultural Production and Agro-Allied Industries.
Born on the 16th of August 1945 in Munsterbilzen, Belgium, Mr. Vandebeeck is an Agronomist with specialty in Tropical Agriculture, graduated in 1969.
He immediately started his career working as plantation manager and then group inspector for five years for Afrifina’streecrop estates of coffee, rubber, cocoa and oil palm, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
He came to Nigeria in 1974 as Project and Team leader for Socfin Consultant Services (Socfinco)which was hired by the World Bank to develop Oil Palm Plantations in Nigeria.
His first assignment was the land acquisition and development of a 4,700 hectares oil palm estate at Adapalm Ltd Plantation, presently owned by the Imo State.
He successfully pioneered that project and delivered same at the end of 1977. He was subsequently transferred to undertake a similar but larger project in Rivers State to commence another process of land acquisition, land preparation and planting of over 11,400 hectares of oil palm plantation in ten communities at the Ubima Nucleus Estate and 7,000 hectares at the Elele Estate – all for Risonpalm Ltd – owned by the Rivers State Government then.
In 1983, he was appointed SOCFINCO’s Country Director of Operations for Nigeria. Upon completion of the job in Rivers State, Mr. Vandebeeck repeated the same feat at Okomu Oil Palm Company in Edo State owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria prior to its privatization.
He established his own company, Siat Group (Société d’Investissement pour l’Agriculture Tropicale) and in 1991 took a significant participation into PRESCO, then wholly owned by President Industries of which he became Managing Director.
Today, Siat Group’s holdings in Nigeria represent over 40,000 ha of oil palm estates, mainly located in Edo, Delta and Rivers States.
According to available information, these plantations are serviced by the most modern/sophisticated palm oil mills, combined with palm kernel crushing and oil refining facilities, at Presco Plc,Edo State and Siat Nigeria Limited, Rivers State respectively.
Presco Plc has grown to become a market leader in the Nigerian vegetable oils and fats industry and industry leader in oil palm plantation development, palm oil milling, palm kernel crushing and refining and fractionation of crude palm oil into vegetable oil products.
These mills have installed capacities to process over 150 tons of Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) per hour to produce Special Palm Oil (SPO). The vegetable oil refining facility of 500 MT/day is one of the largest in Nigeria, wherethe Special Palm Oilisfurther processed into specialty vegetable oils and fats, for domestic use and forindustrial use by other multinational companies in the food and confectionaries industries.Palm kernel oil is extracted for allied industries while kernel cakes for animal feeds are also producedat the facilities of Presco Plc and Siat Nigeria Limited respectively.
The companies employ over 10,000 Nigerians in various categories, including specialized skills for millers and associated technologies.