Let’s brainstorm for greater good of palm oil industry— OPDAG President

Stakeholders in the palm oil sector must come together to brainstorm for the greater good of the entire value chain, Samuel Awonnea Avaala, President of the Oil Palm Development Associa-tion of Ghana (OPDAG), has said.

He said the consultation was on key issues affecting the industry, such as the Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) on crude palm oil.

Mr. Awonnea Avaala in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said “some actors in the palm oil value chain are calling for the introduction of the tax on imported crude palm oil now – at a time where Ghana is a net importer of the raw material.”

He said as a result of the call, a meeting was convened and a common position on the tax was taken, which had been submitted to the Ministry of Finance.

The President said the position was that in the interest of the industry, the tax regime for imported palm oil in the immediate term should remain same.

He said if local manufacturing became more expensive due to increased raw material cost as a result of taxation, imports would take the industry by storm and the already struggling industry would suffer even more.

He said the Association was re-launched with the mandate to seek and advocate for the total health and sustainable development of the entire palm oil industry.

“I am therefore, calling on stakeholders to our first post re-launch forum on at the conference centre of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Legon, on the theme: “Harnessing the full potential of the oil palm industry in Ghana,” he added.

He said at the forum, members would come out with a communiqué on all matters relevant to the sustainable development of the oil palm industry in Ghana.

He said there was the need to institute a fair and transparent pricing mechanism for the fresh fruit bunches produced by the small-scale farmers.

He said the estate plantations had to compete for the limited outgrower fruits over a relatively wide area of coverage, with the attendant high transportation and logistical costs.

“Land acquisition for expansion of the large scale estate plantations has been a mirage due to the cumbersome land tenure system,” he said.

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