Colombian petroleum company Ecopetrol (NYSE: EC) along with the Industrial University of Santander and SENA, Colombia’s community college system have launched a research and prototyping project to commercialize the use of Colombian palm oil in high end cosmetic products.
Colombia has over a thousand oil palm growers cultivating 215,000 acres of oil palm trees and employing 28,000 direct and indirect workers. The 37-month project will train 325 palm growers in Colombia’s Santander department on manufacturing bio=wax samples and on practical applications for the product beyond Colombia’s traditional uses of palm oil: food and biofuel.
The government of Santander will contribute $1.6 million USD to fund the initiative, and the three entities will contribute approximately $3 million USD in resources including personnel, facilities, and equipment.
The initiative seeks to diversify the country’s economy, spur industrial innovation, and promote Colombia’s palm oil industry that enjoys significant sustainability and social advantages over other global palm-oil producing regions.