Oil Palm and Palm Oil Industry in Ghana: A Brief History | 17802
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International Research Journal of Plant Science

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Oil Palm and Palm Oil Industry in Ghana: A Brief History


Danyo Gilbert

A brief history of the Oil palm in Ghana was carried out, to highlight the importance of oil palm to the economy of Ghana, policy interventions of central governments, the key actors and operations in the oil palm sector, trends and constraints, as well as prospects for commercial oil palm cultivation and palm oil industry in Ghana. The African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) is the most important member of the genus Elaeis in terms of production and economic yield. It produces approximately 23 % of the world’s supply of vegetable oils in the form of palm oil. In Ghana, the oil palm has assumed increasing importance as a non-traditional export commodity. In the hierarchy of economic importance, it is next to cocoa in the agricultural tree crop sector of the economy. An estimated total land area of 305, 758 hectares is under oil palm cultivation in Ghana. Commercial production is restricted predominantly to the forest zones whose climates are ecologically suitable for oil palm cultivation. Five main types of actors are recognized in the oil palm and palm oil industry in Ghana: (1) Large industrial plantations with large-scale processing mills and a network of smallholder and out-grower farmers; (2) Mediumscale plantations with medium-scale industrial mills with a network of out-growers; (3) Small private farmers cultivating less than 10 hectares; (4) Small-scale processors using semi-mechanised mills with capacities of about 6–10 tonnes per day; and (5) Secondary processors who process crude palm oil into refined olein. The industry is supported with scientific research and technical innovations by the Oil Palm Research Institute (OPRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The prospects of oil palm cultivation to Ghana’s socio-economic advancement are greater than presently appreciated, if more investments (capital input, prioritized research, and value-addition) are made into its cultivation and industry by governments and corporate bodies alike. There are, however, pertinent socio-economic and environmental issues that if not addressed, may hinder future commercial oil palm plantation development and palm oil industry in Ghana. Keywords: Oil Palm, Plantation Development, Palm Oil industry

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