Palm kernel oil producers cry for market

By
Mildred Siabi-Mensah, GNA

Ahenkofi (WR), Sept. 20, GNA – The ‘Boafo Ye
Na’ palm kernel oil producers association at Ahenkofi a suburb of the
Essikado/Ketan has appealed for increased support to penetrate the
international market.

Palm kernel oil, believed to be key ingredient
in the ice cream and soap making industry is yet to receive policy attention to
promote and improve the sector.

Many women engaged in the trade, are virtually
losing out due to the lack of ready market, lack of access to cracking machines
and other equipment to enhance production.

A visit by the Ghana News Agency to the
“production site” of the women manufacturers showed a worrying business
environment as the women performed their trade at the mercy of the weather. 

According to them, on one of occasion, rain
totally destroyed their mud oven provided by Daasgift Foundation, a
non-governmental organization to curtail the incessant smoke associated with
open tripod and firewood burning.

They added that despite all the difficulties
they had to endure in producing the palm kernel oil, local businessmen and
women who bought the oil on credit had been defaulting in the payment.

They also complained that patronage of the oil
in large quantities continued to be a major challenge.

Madam Lariba Alhassan, one of the leaders,
said bulk buyer for their produce was lacking and this was something that had
not been helpful to their finances.

“We still have oil sitting here after three
months of production…the people who buy do so on credit and lock up our monies
for months before paying even by instalment.”

The women after travelling long distances to
buy the kernel are confronted with another difficulty – the lack of machinery
to aid easy and faster production.

Madam Veronica Dery, a member of the
association said, the strenuous activities – the cracking of the kernel through
to milling and final extraction of oil was affecting their health.

It had caused many of them to contract
respiratory problems, waist and back pains and she called for the government
focus attention on the sector.

The one district one factory initiative, they
said should be extended to the palm kernel oil business to raise production and
earn the country some good revenue as it empowered women economically.

Under the Daasgift Quality Foundation
benefits, the women now have access to improved system of cooking the oil in a
form of mud oven with chimney to direct the smoke from the firewood or debris
of the palm products.

Mrs Baaba Asmah said building a resilient
economy required that attention was given to traditional trades which had the
potential to contribute to job and wealth creation.

GNA

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