Serendipalm – Organic Palm Oil Production
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. It is also a food stuff in its own right. The Serendipalm site was founded as a women empowerment cooperative, the workforce is made up of local women who were taught the process of preparing the palms by boiling and steaming the fruit and then refining the high quality oil for export across the world.
The company ensures that all of the palm oil produced is both organic and fair trade. This is done with extensive training and with the help of local farmers in order 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, the palms are then man-handled into a crane scale, and then man-handled again into the storage units. The farmers are paid based on weight, but the current means of weighing the produce slowed down the production line. A weighbridge was the best 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 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 twist 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 re-calibration is necessary. The weighbridge install is completed and the system is now ready to use. 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, this makes the payments fairer and saves valuable time when a large harvest comes in.
After the work was 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, Ghanaians make great hosts and cooks!