BRIEF ON THE OIL PALM SECTOR IN GHANA

  • Ghana’s first international commercial trade in oil palm took place in 1820. Starting from the wild palm harvesting, oil palm evolved into an agricultural crop and plantations were established by 1850.
  • This led to palm oil becoming the principal export from the then Gold Coast.
  • By the 1880s, palm oil accounted for 75% of the Country’s export revenue.
  • Malaysia which is currently dominating the world palm oil market started the establishment of oil palm plantations with planting materials from Ghana.
  • Ghana currently has a total of 305,758ha of oil palm.
  • More than 80% of this is cultivated by private small-scale farmers.
  • It is estimated that 243,852tons of palm oil is being produced.
  • Ghana currently has an unmet demand of 35,000tons of palm oil.
  • The estimated unmet demand in the ECOWAS sub-region is 850,000tons.

AREAS SUITABLE FOR OIL PALM PLANTATIONS

  • The total area suitable for oil palm cultivation is one million hectares.
  • The suitable areas are in the:
  • Western Region
  • Central Region
  • Ashanti Region
  • Volta Region
  • Brong Ahafo Region

PRODUCTIVITY

  • There is a wide variation in the productivity of oil palm in Ghana.
  • The highest productivity of 20tons/ha have been recorded by plantations in valley bottoms.
  • The large estates achieve productivity levels of between 10 – 15tons/ha.
  • Smallholders and outgrowers produce between 7 – 10tons/ha while private small-scale farms produce about 3tons/ha.

MAJOR OIL PALM COMPANIES AND AREAS CULTIVATED

COMPANY NUCLEUS (HA) OUTGROWER/

SMALLHOLDER (HA)

TOTAL (HA)

MILLING CAPACITY (TONS/HOUR)
GOPDC

Ghana Oil Palm Development Company Ltd. 
8,000 14,352 22,352 60
TOPP

Twifo Oil Palm Plantations Ltd. 
4,234 1,690 5,924 30
BOPP

Benso Oil Palm Plantations Ltd. 
4666 1,650 6,316 27
NORPALM GH. LTD. 4000 4000 30
JUABIN OIL MILLS 424 1,100 1,524 15
AYIEM OIL MILLS 250 250 10
GOLDEN STAR

(A mining company) 
720 720
TOTAL 21,574 19,512 41,086 172

RESEARCH

  • Oil Palm Research Institute (OPRI) is the only institution fully dedicated to research into oil palm.
  • It is also the only institution that produces seed nuts in the country.
  • It currently has the capacity to produce 5million nuts per year.

RECENT MAJOR GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS

  • 3,000ha outgrower project currently ongoing in the Upper & Lower Denkyira Districts. An amount of 6.62m Euros was secured by the Government from Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD).
  • Expansion of the seednuts production capacity of OPRI from 2 million to 5 million seednuts per year under the World Bank sponsored Agriculture Services Sub-Sector Investment Programme (AgSSIP).
  • Cultivation of over 20,000ha small-scale farms under the President’s Special Initiative (PSI) on oil palm.

UPCOMING GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS

  • Development of a master plan for the oil palm sector. Government secured funds from AFD.
  • Development of policy, strategy & implementation manuals for tree crops. Government secured funds from AFD.