Monrovia — Scores of farmers in Compound Two, Grand Bassa County are poised to benefit from Solidaridad’s efficient mill initiative introduced in Liberia to boost palm oil extraction.
The installation of the mills is part of efforts to increase the production capacities of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), who are contributing 50% of the activity cost, as partners in the implementation of the Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programme (SWAPP), funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ghana.
The first mill is expected to be set up in Coniwein Gbeal in Compound Two. On Friday, a high power delegation led by Solidaridad’s new Country Representative, Michael Doe visited the area and expressed delight over the progress made so far.
The team including officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, county authorities and local farmers visited nearby palm plantations in inspected the the old methods used for oil extraction. At the first stop, the farmers demonstrated at a hollow pit used to pound the fresh fruits for distilling; while at the currently used and improved version, the team saw giant-sized drums used to boil the palm and a manual less efficient machine used to extract the oil.
Speaking at the end of the tour in Coniwein Gbeal, Mr. Doe said the mill, when installed will not only reduce the labor cost associated with the previous methods, but will boost the oil extraction rate from nine percent to 15 or 20 percent.
“One of the reasons we are here is to see how we can complete this mill. The old ways our people used to make oil palm will stop. The first place (first site) required a lot of work, while the second was a bit improved but required lots of work. Currently, with the old ways, the oil extraction rate is just nine percent but with the mill, it will pop up to 15 or 20 percent,” he said.
He continued: “You will have more than what you were reproducing. In addition, we trained our young people how to do palm business. So, this mill is going to be a game changer: higher oil extraction rate, create employment, less work, enable farmers to get involved in other activities, create employment and make more money. People will be encouraged to get involved in palm products.”
Also speaking, the Statutory Superintendent, Madam Nancy Kwitaa Greene, on behalf of the government extended ‘profound gratitude’ to Solidaridad for selecting her district. She said the installation of the mill was a great achievement under her leadership as a woman official and vowed to work with the farmers to safeguard the facility for the benefit of the district and county at large.