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Serendipalm Palm Oil - Fair Trade Organic Palm Oil Production

14th June 2014

Installing a full size weighbridge Weighing palm oil on the newly installed weighbridge Local women processing palm oil

Palm Oil is a key industry in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Palm oil is the primary ingredient in organic soaps and is also used as a base in many products such as toothpaste and is a food stuff in its own right. The Serendipalm site was founded as a women empowerment cooperative and the workforce is made up of local women who were taught the whole process of preparing the palms to boiling and steaming the fruit and refining high quality oil for export across the world.

The company ensures that all palm oil produced is both organic and fair trade. This is done by extensive training and with the help of local farmers to grow the palm trees and harvest the fruit. The women sing as they prepare the fruit for the oil extraction, and with wages double the minimum wage they certainly are happy with the work and the cooperative. Currently on site the palms are unloaded from each farm and heaped. Palms are then manhandled into a crane scale and then man handled again into the storage units. Payment to the farmers is based on weight, but the current means of weighing the produce slowed down the production line. A weighbridge was the solution.

I arrived on site and got to work immediately. The beams of the weighbridge had load cells already attached and were lowered into place on the pre prepared concrete base. The local available crane carried out the task carefully. Luckily each part of the weighbridge is less than 1.9T, so lifting them even with such a small crane is possible. After ensuring that the spacing is correct between beams with the use of a tape measure, the platform sections drop into place and lock down using our simple Quick-Lock system. The cables are attached between load cells in a simple series configuration and then connected directly to the indicator.

The weighbridge is then tested. Our factory calibration proves to be accurate and no recalibration is necessary. The weighbridge is complete and ready to use. Now each truck is weighed full and empty and the nett –palm weight– is calculated before unloading. There is no mixing of fruit from different farmers, making the payments fairer and saving valuable time when a large harvest comes in.

After the work is complete I sat down with the manager at the site and we enjoyed an Easter meal together. The site cook made us a local dish of yam leaves with palm oil, served with a side of sticky fufu – a maize and yam flour mixture. It was a hot day, but the installation only took a few hours and Ghanaians make great hosts and cooks!