Ghana’s oil palm sub-sector can generate substantial foreign exchange earnings if greater attention just like cocoa, was accorded to the sector, Mr Samuel Avaala, Estate Manager, Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP) has said.
He said besides foreign exchange, the oil palm sector also contributes immensely to employment creation in the country.
Opening a day’s roundtable for smallholder stakeholders from Central and Western Regions at Takoradi, Mr Avaala, therefore, urged players in the industry to take advantage of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) concept to improve on their yields.
The RSPO is a non-profit international multi-stakeholder organization, which main objective is to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through co-operation with the supply chain and open dialogue among its stakeholders.
Stakeholders, including the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Lands Commission as well as representatives from traditional areas, large and medium scale oil palm plantations such as BOPP, Twifo Oil Palm Plantation (TOPP), NORPALM, AYIEM and AMEEN and others operating in the two regions attended the workshop.
Mr Avaala said under the RSPO, a certified farm or farmer could get premium price for its produce and ensure sustainability in terms of the impact on environment to improve yields and productivity and bio-diversity conservation through best practices and economic viability.
The workshop was organised by BOPP, TOPP, NORPALM Ghana Limited and the Ghana Oil Palm Development Corporation and COLANDEF, social land governance NGO based at Takordi on behalf of the Ghana National Interpretation Working Group of the RSPO.
The objective of the workshop was to deepen understanding of RSPO Certification System and its benefits, establish a multi stakeholder support for the RSPO Certification in Ghana and promote the opportunity for all stakeholders to make inputs into the principles and criteria.
Mrs Nana Ama Yirrah, Executive Director of COLANDEF and Mr Charles Mate-Kole of NORPALM, took participants through topics like RSPO principles and criteria on land issues and best practices respectively.
During an open forum, Mr Joseph Ainoo, Presiding Member of Ahanta West District Assembly, said the RSPO is a laudable concept that when embraced by farmers it would help to address some anomalies like pollution of the environment, water bodies, sacred grooves and national monuments.
Mr. Kojo Amankwa, Assistant Farm Manager of Asrifua Farms, Twifo Praso, appealed to government to support oil palm farmers and encourage them to expand their farms through loans and fertilizer subsidy.