International Ministries

Palm Investments

June 10, 2009 Journal
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For a modest, single, investment of $40 you can more than double the annual income of a Congolese family for the next TWENTY FIVE years.  That’s pretty good odds in the current stock market or real-estate scene.  Fellow IM missionary Ed Noyes and I have been doing this for hundreds of families every year for the last five years and we’ve seen it really works.  There are few other investments in this world that can do so much for so many.

Your potential investment involves palm trees that make oil.  You know about coconut palms and date palms, but may not have heard about oil palms.  Oil palms make huge bunches of thumb-size nuts that have oily fibers covering a shell that holds an oily nut.  These palms actually produce two kinds of oil.  That is made from the outside of the nut, an oil with a rich gold color good for cooking or any other oil use such as making soap.  You’ve heard of Palmolive™ soap. The oil from the inner nut is good for making stiffening candy bars or making car wax.  This oil from the inner nut probably does the same to arteries when you consumed it.

In the 1950's Congo was the world's leading producer of palm oil.  Now Malaysia produces more because Congo's palm plantations have been abandoned during the chaos of the last fifty years. Congo still has an excellent climate for palm production and a population that knows how to grow palms and produce the oil. Many of our Baptist church buildings in Congo were built by believers who had a steady income from palm oil. We want to rebuild the oil palm industry in Congo and also the economic security of our Congolese brothers and sisters where the average annual income in Congo is $300; or 82 cents a day.

Every August we make an order of High Yielding Oil Palm tree seedlings from Costa Rica.  A month later they are shipped by air to us in Congo, arriving just as the rainy season begins.  The trees cost around $1.15 each depending on how much customs we have to pay.  They are planted at 70 trees per acre. They yield 5 times as much oil as the native trees the Congolese grow and they are short, which simplifies harvesting. It takes 3 years for these palms to come into production but after that they will earn the family $400-$700/year per acre; for 25 - 35 years.

If you’re sharp you’ll tell me that 70 trees x $1.15 = $80.5 not $40.  Ah, but I have an anonymous DONOR who is willing to MATCH up to 100 acres from others like you.  So with your $40 and my donor’s match, I can give a Congolese family 70 trees that in 2011 will double or triple their income.

It is hard to pay school fees when you make only 82 cents a day.  Similarly it is hard to pay a pastor, or a doctor, or build a church when no one makes a dollar a day.  We pray that the Lord will bless these palm trees and the folks who receive them so they will be able to pay for school, for medicines, and for growing His church in Congo.

Would you like to invest?  Send your $40 (or more) by July 31 to “Congo Palms” International Ministries, Valley Forge, PA, 19482-0851.

This will be a tremendous blessing to hundreds of families for decades to come. On their behalf I thank you.

Wayne Niles