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Palm Kernel Oil Producers Cry For Ready Market And Equipment   
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The 'Boafo Ye Na' palm kernel oil producers Association at Ahenkofi, a suburb of Essikado/Ketan is appealing to stakeholders and the commerce industry to as a matter of urgency help them to open up their business to the international market.

Palm kernel oil, believed to be a key ingredient in the ice cream and soap making industry, is yet to receive policy attention and national commitments to promote and improve the sector, with most women engaged in the trade virtually losing out due to the lack of ready market, access to cracking machines and other equipment to enhance production as against the traditional method.

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

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

They noted that, despite all the difficulties they endure in producing the palm kernel oil, local businessmen and women had been buying the oil on credit, which had not helped them.

They also stressed that patronage of the oil in large quantities continued to be a major challenge to the Association members, who largely depended on the proceeds.

Madam Lariba Alhassan, one of the leaders of the Association told the Ghana News Agency that bulk buyers for their produce was lacking, which was affecting 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, and even by instalment.”
The women after traveling so far in search of the kernel have another difficulty of machinery to aid in easy and faster production.

The strenuous activities carried out by the women from the cracking through to milling and final extraction of oil, according to Madam Veronica Dery, a member of the Association, had caused many of them to suffer from respiratory conditions or waist and back pains.

She urged the government pay attention to the palm kernel sector to create more jobs for women in the rural areas.

The one district one factory initiative according to the women’s group should be extended to the palm kernel oil business to improve productions and earn the country some revenue and at the same time empower the women economically.

Under the Daasgift Quality Foundation benefits, the women now have access to a more modified system of cooking the oil in a form of mud oven with a chimney.

Mrs Baaba Asmah said growing a resilient economy required that attention was given to traditional trades, which has potentials of contributing to job creation and financial empowerment.
Source: GNA

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