Palm oil production, based on small-scale production, was a leading foreign exchange earner for Ghana from about the mid-nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. The then colonial government believed that the indigenous small-scale farming system was more resilient economically than exotic, large plantations and, as a result, plantations did not make much impact on agricultural production during the colonial period in Ghana1.
1960 signified the beginning of a serious effort by the Government of Ghana to promote the oil palm industry. This was guided by various Government policies and programmes that were formulated and published in 8 national development plans and strategy documents
Promotion of the oil palm industry meant:
a) Finding the right strategies to transform small-scale village oil palm farming and palm oil production into more commercial and sustainable cultivation and production;
b) Accelerated production of FFB to attract industrial investment;
c) Expansion of milling capacities following implementation of programmes which increased FFB supply;
d) Improvement in productivity of oil palm plantations and mills of all sizes;
e) Improvement in FFB and palm oil quality for edible and industrial consumption;
f) Improving competitiveness of Ghanaian palm oil in the domestic and international markets;
g) Generating regular employment and income through the rapid expansion of the industry;
h) Diversification of the structure of the economy which relied on cocoa, gold and timber exported as primary products and raw materials to greater contribution from exports of industrial goods and services. This included import substitution and self sufficiency in vegetable oil production;
i) Growth and development of the capital goods manufacturing sector.