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Jabulani Sithole believes in the future of West Africa palm oil

According to the Ghanaian expert Jabulani Sithole, adopt new methods of farming, which include technology and a sustainable palm oil production, will ensure a bright future to the West African palm oil.

Jabulani Sithole, communications and knowledge manager, Solidaridad West Africa.Photo:

Solidaridad’s Jabulani Sithole.

In 2011, Nigeria was the world’s fourth largest producer of palm oil, producing more than 1.3 million tons of oil. That same year, the Ivory Coast was ranked eighth with 325,000 tons, Cameroon ranked twelfth with 182,000 tons and Ghana was seventeenth producing 243,850 tons.

For the region to realise its potential, a trajectory of sustainable palm oil production in the entire value chain must be undertaken. This would propel the sector to greater heights.

In the region, the majority of plantations are owned by smallholder farmers. According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Ghana small scale oil palm plantations account for 80 percent of growers in the country. They supply both, small artisanal processors and large estate processors.

Among the many challenges facing smallholder farmers is the lack of access to improved agricultural tools and materials. The farmers currently use inferior planting materials that are low yielding and unsustainable. Furthermore, in many instances, farmers abandon their trees unpruned, or without proper weeding and fertiliser application. As such, the majority of smallholder farmers lack appropriate agronomical advice and support.