GHANA – The government of Ghana is set to arrest and prosecute unlicensed and illegal artisanal palm oil producers and processors in the country by next year in a move to drive away unscrupulous traders who produce unclean and unhealthy palm oil for consumption.
This is anticipated to enhance market access for workers in the palm oil value chain in the producing districts and ensure that finished products meet both local and international market standards to generate income and taxes for development.
Mr. Paul Amaning, the National President of the Artisanal Palm Oil Millers and Outgrowers Association of Ghana, gave the hint during a product packaging training for palm oil producers at Twifo Hemang. He noted, that a substantial part of Ghana’s palm oil imports could be sourced locally from artisanal palm oil producers if they met the quality requirements of both industrial users and palm oil exporters.
He said the government was ready to support the millers with portable machines for palm oil processing at a convenient process within a shorter period of time, while urging the artisanal mill owners to adapt to change and also work together as a team in advancing and digitalizing the Palm oil business.
Further, the president charged the participants to register their businesses to meet the requisite standards to enhance trading and also provide jobs to reduce unemployment and increase the living standards in the Country.
Mr. John Odai Tettey, the Regional Manager of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) schooled participants on the requirements of business registration for them to be able to operate without interference. He added that food hygiene and safety should be the core element of all food preparation processes, including palm oil, hence the need for processors to obtain and regularly update their knowledge in food safety and good manufacturing practices.
He counselled consumers to stop demanding palm oil with a redder hue, explaining that such market preferences made some fraudulent palm oil producers to add substances to the product to change its natural color, which could compromise food safety. Additionally, he urged the participants to be committed in ensuring the safety of their products to safeguard public health.
The Regional Manager called on mill owners to adhere to the laid-out procedures and measures so as to produce the best and quality product for the market.