Development of the Oil Palm Industry in Adansi West District

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The oil palm accounts for increasing proportion of the total commercial edible vegetable oil as well as a great source of raw materials for industrial use. It has been an important source of income and employment for majority of rural dwellers in Ghana where oil palm cultivation is undertaken. It is of great importance, therefore is development in Ghana is an area where much attention should be given. Due to its economic importance, investments in the oil palm industry have been large. These investments come from large scale enterprises and small scale holdings. As a result there has been an increase in the oil palm hectarage in recent years. The study is, therefore aimed at looking at the oil palm industry in the Adansi West district in Ashanti Region in Ghana. It is concerned with the examination of the factors that have contributed and these that inhibit its effective development. Moreover, it is concerned with assessing the impact of the oil palm project on the oil palm industry and on the development of the District. The district is climatically and physically suitable for the cultivation of oil palm. To understand the operation of the industry in the district and to gain knowledge on the changes that have taken place after the establishment of the projects, questionnaire was administered to stratified sample of staff and the worker of the oil palm projects, small scale farmers and palm oil extractors as well as the heads of households in the district. The analysis of the survey data revealed the operational procedures and the problem associated with the projects, small scale oil palm farmers as well as the small scale palm oil extractors. Application of the assessment technique was made to identify the overall impact of the oil palm project on the oil industry and on the district. It was further revealed from the analysis that the establishment of the project has made a positive impact on the socio-economic and infrastructural development of the district such as creation of employment, increase in income and agro industrial development. Conversely, there has been environmental destruction in terms of air pollution, destruction of forest vegetation and indiscriminate refuse disposal. There has been more emphasis on the cultivation of oil palm at the neglect of food crops due the benefits accruing to those engaged in its cultivation. There is possibility that food shortage will occur in the future if unchecked. Important and thought provoking recommendations geared towards an effective development of the industry in district have been given. To be able to do this attention has been equally distributed among the oil palm project, the small scale farmers and the small scale palm oil extractors in the district. The recommendations have been grouped under the following: a) The oil palm project: Effective utilization of the existing labour, effective measures to eliminate theft of produce, provision of adequate finance by financial institution, introduction of evaluation and monitoring into the operation of the projects. b) Small scale Farming Sector: Adequate provision of agricultural Extension Services to the farmer, supply of adequate agricultural inputs to the farmers and information of ‘Nnoboa” co operatives. c) Small scale oil processing sector: effective ways of increasing extraction efficiency and quality of oil and information of small scale oil extractor’s co-operatives. d) General Recommendation: Effective control of diseases and pests effective dissemination of research findings on oil palm cultivation, promotion of a balanced crop production, introduction of guaranteed minimum price for palm oil and fruits, education of farmers to release land for oil palm cultivation, and the effective control of the environment. The study was found to be essential since it serve as a basic for further analytical studies for the development of the oil palm industry in other palm growing areas in Ghana.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1990