Agribusiness | Regional

Closing Ghana’s Palm Oil Gap: Insights from Benso Oil Plantation

At a recent stakeholders' meeting, the General Manager of Benso Oil Palm Plantation, Mr Samuel Avaala Awonnea in an interview with Joy Business elaborated on the current challenges and opportunities within Ghana’s palm oil industry.

The conversation highlighted the significant gap between local production and national consumption, as well as the efforts required to bridge this gap.

The Palm Oil Production Deficit

Ghana consumes approximately 450,000 metric tons of palm oil annually, used predominantly in products like vegetable cooking oil. However, the country’s local production only meets about 300,000 metric tons of this demand, leaving a substantial gap of 150,000 metric tons that must be imported.

The General Manager of Benso Oil explained, "To produce that 150,000 metric tons gap, you need about five plantations of our size."

Despite this shortfall, there is a guaranteed market for palm oil products in Ghana. "This gives us the assurance that we have a business that goes to the very core of food safety and food nutrition for the Ghanaian people," the General Manager stated.

Benso Oil Plantation has been expanding its operations gradually, though not as quickly as desired due to various regulatory, policy, and economic factors.

In 2023, BOPP invested 2.2milkion in Social Investment projects: nurses quarters, sanitation facilities , community centre as well as scholarships.

Dr Braimah reported: "we are proud to retain our prestigious RSPO certification, solidifying our position as a model for Sustenable oil palm Plantation practices in Ghana and Africa…additionally, our ranking of nineth on the Ghana Club 100 awards demonstrates our continued excellence".

Though the business climate in 2024 poses a significant challenge, proper control and risks systems had been put together to improve efficiency of operations and increase the volume of purchase also from outgrowers.

The company praised their shareholders, customers, partners for their continuous patronage of the products, peaceful coexistence and winning approach to all initiatives.

Mr Avaala urged the government to up its game on the illegal intrusion of foreign oil products which was affecting local producers of the commodity.

Economic Conditions and Policy Impact

Dr Alfred Mahamadu Braimah, Chairman and Non-Executive Director, also addressed the stakeholders, providing insights into the broader economic context.

He noted that while Ghana's economy is experiencing a gradual recovery, growth remains below potential. However, there have been positive signs, particularly in the realm of inflation.

"Beginning of the year, the disinflation process started, with inflation coming down. By December 2023, inflation had decelerated to 23.2 percent from a peak of 54.1 percent at the end of December 2022," Dr Braimah reported.

This improvement is attributed to strong policies, relative exchange rate stability, and effective liquidity sterilization, indicating a more stable macroeconomic environment that could support further growth in the palm oil sector.

Looking Forward

The path to closing the palm oil production gap in Ghana requires significant investment in expanding local production capacities. Benso Oil Plantation’s commitment to addressing this challenge underscores the vital role of local industry in ensuring food security and nutrition for the nation.

As Ghana navigates its economic recovery, the efforts of Benso Oil Plantation and other stakeholders will be crucial in meeting the country's palm oil demands. With continued policy support and strategic investments, Ghana can move towards self-sufficiency in palm oil production, securing a vital component of its food industry.

BOPP paid a combined dividend amount to a total payout of 2, 3319 per square for the year 2023 reflecting a significant portion of the company’s profit after tax.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.