Juaben Palm Oil Processors Poised to Expand Their Trade

Sarah, leader of the Juaben Palm Oil Processors Group sorting out palm nuts for processing

A group of palm oil processors at Juaben are poised to enhance their trade by expanding the land on which they now operate with the assistance of loans from the Micro Credit Program being implemented by Self Help International in some rural areas of the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

Fifty-five-year-old Sarah, leader of the group, expressed her  interest in expanding the land on which they are currently carrying out their activities to allow the present group members to broaden their activities and also pave the way for more women to join the group.

Sarah, a mother of six, was instrumental in the acquisition of the land on which the 30-member strong group of women are now located.

She started receiving loans from the Micro Credit Program three years ago with an initial amount of 1,000 GHC cedis.

However, following her desire for members of the group to expand their activities, she requested for a loan to acquire a machine that would speed up their work but the group was required to secure the land on which they operate to make the installation of the machine feasible.

Consequently, with the assistance of a loan from the Micro Credit Program, Sarah was able to secure ownership of the land by paying the required  amount of money to the local authorities in charge of land administration in her community.

“I received a loan of 10,000 GHC to which I added 16,000 GHC to acquire the one plot of land on which we are working at the cost of 26,000 GHC.

But after securing the land, Sarah realized that one plot of land was too small for the expansion of the palm oil processing business as she had envisaged.

“I am to acquire a second plot to ensure that the working space is large and spacious to provide enough room to support all the various steps involved in palm oil processing. I enjoy palm oil processing, hence I always try to do all in my power to enhance our work,” she said.

Crushing the cooked palm nuts with a machine

“We need a large piece of land so that all the women will have enough room to conduct their activities. We also need to be able to provide essential services like restrooms to create a comfortable working environment for the women.”

“Apart from the machine, we need to acquire new tanks for processing the nuts. These tanks are more voluminous than the iron pots we are currently using and will allow us to process large quantities of nuts at the same time.”

Sarah is optimistic about the future success of the palm oil processing business saying, “Palm oil processing is lucrative. All the women in the group are able to pay back their loans. Working with the Micro-Credit Program has been a big blessing to all of us”

“We provide a source of income for those who come to assist us in many ways. We have some men who work on the palm fruits to make it easier to access the nuts. Some men also help in crushing the cooked nuts in addition to the manual extraction of the oil from the nuts. A number of women also come to help with the removal  of the nuts from the fruit for a fee”

Extracting palm oil from the crushed palm nuts

For Sarah, ensuring that the oil that she produces is of optimal quality is very important to the business. 

“We are careful with our oil processing and produce very high quality palm oil. We do not add any additives. If a company should conduct a quality test on our oil, they will realize it is genuine and free of additives.”

For the next steps in her business, Sarah will be happy to be assured of a ready market, saying, “I will be happy if we can be linked to companies that use palm oil as a raw material to enable us to have ready customers for our produce.”