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Palm oil from Ghana

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

In Ghana, palm oil production is at the top of the agribusiness development agenda. The demand for palm oil is not only growing in the food sector, but also in industry where it is used, for example, in cleaning agents. The government is investing in the cultivation of more resistant and, above all, high-yielding oil palms and is promoting the use of new seed among small farmers.

In spite of these efforts, Ghanaian palm oil often falls short of international quality standards for food and cosmetics. Traditional cultivation and processing on smallholdings also prevents the cost-cutting advantages that characterise economies of scale, leaving Ghana unable to compete pricewise on the global market. The growing market for organic and Fair Trade products offers a good opportunity here. However, without the support of international buyers, Ghanaian famers are unable to switch to organic cultivation or produce the quantities they need to, not to mention meet the costs of certification in line with internationally recognised standards.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps is precisely such a buyer. A company with German origins, it switched its supply of raw materials to products from certified organic provenance in the year 2003. In 2006, company management decided only to purchase raw materials that were produced in accordance with Fair Trade criteria. In 2007, Dr. Bronner’s and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) embarked on a development partnership (PPP) to help smallholders in Ghana make the change to organic cultivation and thus establish the basis for certification of their palm oil. This partnership was then joined by the non-governmental organisation Fearless Planet which helps women from developing countries to produce and market their own goods.

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