The Palm Kernel Oil Producers Association (PKOPA) branch at the Anwiankwanta in the Amansie East District of the Ashanti Region, has appealed for increased support from government to enable them penetrate the international market.
Palm Kernel Oil is said to be a key ingredient in the ice cream and soap making industry but in Ghana it is yet to receive policy attention.
Many women engaged in the trade, are virtually losing out due to the lack of factory, ready market, lack of access to cracking machines and other equipment necessary to enhance production.
A visit by Asona Dehyiɛ Kwateng 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 the occasions, rain totally destroyed their mud oven provided by a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to curtail the incessant smoke associated with open tripod and firewood burning.
They explained among others that despite all their challenges they had to endure to produce the palm kernel oil even though 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.
“We are lacking bulk buyer to patronize our produce and this has not been helpful to our finances,” one of the women stated.
“We still have oil sitting here after years of production, the people who buy do so on credit and lock up our monies for years before paying even by instalment” another woman lamented.
The women after travelling long distances to buy the kernel are confronted with another difficulty which is the lack of machinery to aid easy and faster production.
According to the Chairman of the Association Frimpong Ebenezer, “the strenuous activities, the cracking of the kernel through to milling and final extraction of oil is affecting our health.
“These activities have caused most of our members to contract respiratory problems, waist and back pains, meanwhile we have an abandoned factory which has for the past five years been left to rot with it’s heavy machines, it only needs rehabilitation and we can make good use of it but our efforts have proven forfilled” he opined.
The Chairman again urged government to prioritize their operations as a source of employment by investing more resources into the production of Palm Kernel Oil to attract the teaming youth.
“As part of your One District One Factory initiative, we the Palm Kernel Oil Producers Association request that more palm kernel oil producing factories should be constructed to boost the palm kernel oil business to raise production and earn the country some good revenue as it empowers women economically” Frimpong Ebenezer appealed to government.
Source: William Dei-Gyau ||