Demand for locally produced palm oil on the international market is falling months after the local palm oil industry came under severe scrutiny for its quality processes.
Some exporters of the produce have complained international consumers are shying away from made in Ghana palm oil mainly because of a series of negative reportage that affected the industry in the later parts of 2015.
The Food and Drugs Authority in October last year raised red alert on palm oil being sold on the local markets in parts of the country following a discovery that it has been adulterated with Sudan IV dye; a cancer-causing agent.
In early February it emerged that some palm oil traders in the country soak millipedes in the oil to enhance its reddish colour and change the taste, a survey by some postgraduate students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
These issues, according to the producers of the oil, have greatly affected their market, particularly on the international market, noting their products now go through more rigorous testing in Europe than those from other countries.
“The palm oil industry is really suffering this year, output has reduced and artisan millers who prepare small scale oil are currently closing down their operations,” National Organizer of the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana, Maxwell Commey told Onua FM’s Abena Nyamekye.
He noted the reportage on the issues affected their exports which he said has reduced because of suspicions by the European Union.
“I personally exported containers of oil to Italy early this year, but it took two months of testing by European officials before it was released to my foreign client,” he continued.
While exports continue to suffer, prices of palm oil continue to fall on the local market. A gallon of palm oil which used to sell for GHC80 as at Novembers last year, now sells between GHC60 and GHC65.
“This has led to producers experiencing severe economic hardships and employees are being laid off,” Mr Commey said, adding “all of us have a role to play in ensuring that the palm oil industry does not collapse as it has the potential of creating job for people from all walks of life and different educational backgrounds”.
Nii Okai Tetteh|Onua 95.1FM|tv3network.com