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Ghanaian crude palm oil company receives $1.1m to support smallholder farmers in West Africa

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Photo courtesy of Pacha Soap.

A Ghanaian crude palm oil and palm kernel oil processing company, 8 Degrees North, has received an amount of $1.1 million to support smallholder farmers in West Africa (Ghana and Liberia) to access the growing market for organic palm oil in the United States.

Together with Pacha Soap, a US-based natural soaps company committed to ethical sourcing and J-Palm, a Liberian palm kernel oil company in the alliance, they will secure organic accreditation for their two mills, which will allow smallholders in both Ghana and Liberia to get better prices for their palm fruits.

The co-investment project is a USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) initiative that seeks to boost profits considerably for smallholders and increase the value of exports from the region while creating over 6,000 new jobs in Ghana and Liberia.

8 Degrees North, will leverage the Trade Hub’s co-investment grant to back an alliance with multiple partners seeking to address the challenges of process upgrades and organic certification in West Africa’s palm oil industry.

In a bid to strengthen the supply chain for each company and further boost smallholders’ incomes, Pacha Soap will source ingredients for its products directly from 8 Degrees North and J-Palm.

Capitalizing on the untapped potential for a diversified supply chain of palm oil sourced from organic smallholder plantations in West Africa, Pacha Soap will leverage its relationship with major retailers in the United States to advertise and market 8 Degrees North and J-Palm’s certified palm oil and palm kernel oil.

“With this project, manufacturers in the United States can now source from certified smallholders in West Africa,” said Andy Thornton, Vice President, Sourcing and Impact at Pacha Soap. “We can use our supply chain, our brand as the jumping-off point to build the supply chains and allow smallholders to become international, get them certified, and get them access to markets.”

8 Degrees North and Pacha Soap are also partnering with a specialist blockchain technology company, Bext360, that will provide a platform delivering full transparency on where ingredients are sourced from and who is producing them.

“This co-investment partnership with the Trade Hub will enable us to expand operations, create more jobs, improve standards of living for our farmers and their communities, and also to meet our corporate social responsibilities,” Osman Bangura, Director of Operations for 8 Degrees North said.

According to a report copied to ghanabussinessnews.com, exports from this venture to the United States are expected to generate over $1.7 million, with new sales for smallholders valued at over $900,000.

The Trade Hub’s $1.1 million co-investment to support 8 Degrees North and Pacha Soap’s initiatives foster the US Government’s Prosper Africa initiative to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between Africa and the United States.

“We are excited about this partnership, which will allow the growing organic palm market in the United States to engage with smallholders in West Africa,” said Michael Clements, Chief of Party of the Trade Hub. “By lifting the barriers preventing these farmers from being able to supply to the U.S. market, the project will boost profits and create jobs.

By Theodora Aidoo

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