Ghana's Challenge

2013 Ghana Palm Oil Figures
Consumption = 537k tonnes
Production = 424k tonnes
Result: $90m deficit

Palm Oil – a major economic and social opportunity for Ghana

The traditional West African diet relies less on dairy and more on vegetable oils, particularly oil palm, a staple in local cuisine. Used unrefined in dishes and soups, palm oil is in high demand domestically, but production lags, leading to costly imports to meet the supply shortfall.

Ghana holds significant potential not only to satisfy local demand but also to emerge as a substantial palm oil exporter. Recognizing this potential, the government initiated the President’s Special Initiative in Oil Palm (PSI-Oil) in 2003. The program aimed to enhance smallholders’ productivity and returns by distributing over 3 million hybrid seedlings nationwide, equivalent to 20,000 hectares of palm oil plantation. This initiative urged smallholders to adopt improved planting and husbandry techniques, commercialize their production, and connect with modern processing mills.

Volta and Oti Region

Despite the government’s program, palm oil cultivation remains low in the Region due to the absence of a commercial oil palm mill. Volta Red addressed this issue by opening its new oil palm processing mill in May 2013.

The Nkwanta South and Kadjebi districts of the Oti Region, where our activities are centered, are among the more remote and economically disadvantaged areas in Ghana. Over 80% of the economically active population is engaged in agriculture, primarily on a subsistence basis. The region lacks major industrial activities, resulting in high unemployment levels, leading many youths to migrate to Accra in search of jobs.

Volta Red’s initiatives have brought substantial economic benefits to this economically challenged part of Ghana. As the largest employer in the region, historically lacking formal employment opportunities, our wages rank among the industry’s highest in the entire country. The company employs over 400 individuals, with nearly half being female.

The World Bank notes that ...

…Large palm oil plantations generate up to 30 times more employment per unit area than other large-scale farming, such as soybeans. It is estimated that a 1% increase in hectares of palm oil production contributes to a reduction of between 0.15% and 0.25% of those in poverty at a district level. Therefore, the project is expected to have a substantial positive economic impact on local employees and outgrowers.

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