GHANA – The Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) Foundation, the economic empowerment arm of the mobile network provider, has commissioned GH¢740,000.00 (US$143571) palm oil processing plant in Ashanti Region, Ghana.

The oil palm processing facility is aimed at empowering palm-oil dependent communities in the region by facilitating higher returns on their investments.

According to a Ghana News Agency report, the Foundation has also rolled out a technical training programme on the facility operation skills, financial management and capacity building to support sustainability of the venture.

Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, Mr. Selorm Adadevoh, MTN’s the chief executive officer, said that the new facility will reduce challenges faced by communities in the region, increase their productivity and efficiency.

“As oil palm has greatly contributed to the development of the Indonesian economy so do we expect this modern oil palm processing plant to turn the Juaso (in Ashanti region) economy around for the benefit of generations”, he said.

Mr Selorm said the MTN Foundation was committed to investing in the areas of health, education and economic empowerment as a way of touching the lives of its numerous customers across the country.

According to him, the foundation has so far established 145 projects in the region as it continues to positively impact the lives of the communities it operates in.

Also speaking during the ceremony, Ms. Nabila Williams a member of the MTN Foundation’s board of directors, said that the modern facility comes as a major boost in promoting efficiency and sustainability in the sector.

MTN Foundation also partnered the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to facilitate the training programme.

This comes as the latest investment in the country’s palm oil industry after Solidaridad unveiled a US$34.82m investment through projects to support oil palm and cocoa value chain in the region.

Through the Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programmes, the project aims at improving productivity of the oil palm industries increase revenues and improve livelihoods of oil palm dependent farmers in the country.

Additionally, the Ghanaian government under the under the 1-District-1-Factory (1D1F) initiative, has revitalised operations of the Birim Oil Mills, which has a processing capacity of between 30 to 60 tons per hour of palm oil and palm kernel oil.

Ghana has an estimated 305,758ha land under oil palm cultivation which produces 243,852tons of palm oil, but however doesn’t meet the nearly 300,000tons annual demand.