Oil Palm business operators have called on the Government to adopt stringent measures and policies in reviving the economy to aid reduction in prices of fruits for production.
It said the current price hikes had affected their businesses as prices of fresh fruits were increasing day in and out making it difficult for small mills in the oil business to survive.
Mr Paul Kwabena Amaning, the National Organiser of Oil Palm Development Association in Ghana (OPDAG) in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), also identified COVID-19 as having devastating effect on small Mills operators in the country.
“The price of tons of fresh fruit has moved from GHC 430.00 to GHC1,050 within a year” he lamented.
He noted that the Oil Palm sector does not only provide livelihoods to farmers but also many others along the value chain which included, operators, transporters, seed distributors, and agro-input sellers.
The sector also employed between 1,000 and 3,000 contractors particularly, during harvesting adding that currently, the sector was the second most important of 10 industrial crops in the country.
Between 2007-2019 oil palm grew from 680.781 metric tonnes to 1.896.760 metric tonnes creating about two million jobs across the value chain.
The Organiser said the Sector was engaging Ministry of Trade and Industry to assist members with modern technology to enhance efficiency in the palm oil production line and was looking for loans to buy machines to improve the production environment.
He noted that oil palm had a large growth potential but, Ghana’s current crude palm oil production of 245 000 metric tonnes was unable to meet the global demand for the product and was working to produce quality oil to meet the required standard and demand.
Mr Amaning said improve the business and sell the country on the global market, traceability was key as it also ensured safety and quality of product to meet international standard.
OPDAG, he noted was on course to help members use the ‘palm oil goes digital’ packaging programme to take advantage of the digital world market to enhance the business in the country and beyond.
“We are still on course as the digital programme will continue in other districts in Ghana just after the Easter holidays” he said.
On regulating the sector, he noted that the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA) had finished with regulations and was ready for parliamentary approval this year, adding that oil palm licensing and regulations was included in the draft proposal to parliament.
Mr Amaning who doubles as the President of Artisanal Palm Oil Millers and Growers Association of Ghana, urged the stakeholders to accept the regulations of the oil Palm sector to meet the standard of requirement locally and internationally.
He admitted that adapting to the digitalisation system was difficult but with support from the Food and Drugs Authority’s (FDA) strict enforcement, they were adopting the progressive licensing program.
He encouraged the operators to accept the progressive licensing programme and packaging training programme by FDA and OPDAG to help get access with superior quality oil.