Oil Palm Farmers Cry Over Smuggling

The market women and organisers in a group photograph


Over 300,000 workers in Ghana’s oil palm and refinery sector are at risk of losing their jobs as the industry faces its worst fears of impending collapse.

This follows the constant smuggling of vegetable oil to the country through unapproved routes by some traders, depriving the local producers of over 600,000 metric tonnes of vegetable oil production monthly.

Executive Secretary, of the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana [OPDAG], Selorm Quame, speaking at a sensitization workshop held for Accra market women on how to curb the smuggling of vegetable oil onto the market, explained that there are 560,000 farmers and about 300,000 refinery workers who are at risk of losing their jobs due to some market women dealing with vegetable oil smugglers.

According to him, the OPDAG cannot assure buyers and consumers of the food safety standards and hygienic conditions under which the smuggled vegetable oil is produced.

He added that the local oil production cannot be compromised because it is done under good hygienic conditions and its food safety standards are certified by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) /Ghana Standard Authority (GSA).

“OPDAG is focused on promoting sustainability palm oil production, processing and trading in Ghana,” Selorm Quame added

The Chief Executive Officer of the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA), William Agyapong Quaittoo, also noted that smugglers of cooking oil through the borders invade taxes and sell oil at a price that threatens the survival of the local producers.

According to him, the local oil producers have constantly battled with unfair competition, incurring more losses.

In an effort to combat smugglers’ bad practices, he urged market women to work with the task force to root out the bad nuts to help boost local oil production.

Coordinator of the Task Force, Paul Amaning, noted that TCDA’s main objective is to ensure that locally manufactured cooking oils are sold on the market to help boost the economy and create jobs in the value chain.

The stakeholders present at the sensitization workshop held at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) office, suggested that the government should intervene by discontinuing the implementation of the ECOWAS ETLS concession on refined oil imported from Togo and also restrict the importation of refined vegetable oil for some time to enable the local producers to gain ground.

BY Daniel Bampoe