Ghana could save millions of dollars in palm-oil importation

Wed, 22 Aug 2007 Source: GNA

Kumasi, Aug. 22, GNA - A study has indicated that Ghana could save 100 million dollars annually on palm oil imports if current production processes are improved.

The country's palm oil consumption level as at 2006 stood at 230,000 tons while it produced only 120,000 tons. The deficit was imported.

These came to light at a workshop in Kumasi to disseminate the outcome of a study conducted on the production process of palm oil in the Ashanti Region.

The study dubbed: "Palm oil process Improvement (KAIZEN) Programme", was conducted by a team of researchers from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, (JICA), Dr Nicholas Kyei-Baffour of the Department of Agricultural Engineering of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Mr Charles Manu, a Kumasi based consultant.

The study, which was part of the JICA's programme on the study on the promotion and development of local industries in Ghana, was aimed at identifying bottlenecks in the palm oil production process, come out with suggestions to increase quantity as well as quality of production and marketing opportunities for the product.

It was conducted on some selected oil mills, companies and cooperative palm oil producers in the Region.

The findings indicated that the traditional methods of production used by the cooperative millers contributed to the low level of production and poor quality of palm oil produced in the country. Dr Kyei-Baffour pointed out that Ghana had a great potential in palm oil production and there was the need to modify the production processes to increase yield.

He said most of the oil went waste as a result of improper methods of separating the oil from the sludge and called for proper mounting of the digester and pressers to facilitate quick pressing without loss of heat at the mills during production.

Mr Yoshinari Yamamoto, JICA team leader, urged the cooperative millers to take the outcome of the studies seriously in order to increase their production and improve their incomes. 22 Aug. 07

Source: GNA