Malaysian Palm Oil Growth in Ghana

Ghana, a west African country, is the second largest palm oil producing country within Sub-Saharan Africa. On an average, in the last 3 years, Ghana produced about 537,000 MT of palm oil every year. Last year, Ghana produced 560,000 MT of palm oil. With growing population over time, oils and fats consumption has been on the rise. Per capita oils and fats consumption in Ghana is at 20.7kg with over 30 million population in 2019. While consumption is higher than the production of palm oil in the country, Ghana imports palm oil from other countries to meet the local demand. While Malaysia holds the largest market, Ghana also imports palm oil from Indonesia and other neighboring countries like Cote D’Ivoire.

  JAN – AUG 2020 JAN – AUG 2019 Difference % Difference
KENYA 243,610 76,150 167,460 219.91
NIGERIA 222,103 164,686 57,417 34.86
MOZAMBIQUE 197,341 119,650 77,691 64.93
GHANA 151,470 82,059 69,411 84.59
SOUTH AFRICA 142,713 148,803 (6,090) (4.09)
TOGO 127,658 67,365 60,293 89.50
TANZANIA 119,542 114,385 5,157 4.51
ANGOLA 94,501 96,715 (2,214) (2.29)
MADAGASCAR 82,966 27,357 55,609 203.27
BENIN 72,162 99,535 (27,373) (27.50)
MAURITANIA 65,928 60,584 5,344 8.82
COTE D’IVOIRE 32,944 16,053 16,891 105.22
SENEGAL 29,857 20,764 9,093 43.79
CONGO, DEM. REP. OF THE 25,402 32,869 (7,467) (22.72)
GUINEA 18,255 53,692 (35,437) (66.00)
CAMEROON 17,953 5,974 11,979 200.52
GAMBIA 17,589 12,104 5,485 45.32
NIGER 16,496 15,900 596 3.75
OTHERS 17,022 23,715 (6,693) (28.22)
TOTAL 1,695,512 1,238,360 457,152 36.92

Table 1: Export of Malaysian Palm Oil to Sub-Saharan Africa (Tonnes)
Source: MPOB

During the last 8 months Ghana has seen a big increase in Malaysian Palm Oil imports. Up until August 2020, Ghana imported a total of 151,470 MT of Malaysian palm oil, a staggering increase of 85% compared to the same time frame last year. In fact, Ghana has reached the total amount of 2019 Malaysian Palm Oil imports within the first 8 months of this year.

Graph 1: 2015 to 2020 – Malaysian Palm Oil Imports into Ghana
Source: MPOB

There are several factors for the way the market has been performing in this country. The pandemic has put the country in a situation where local production has been affected. The lockdown, limited manpower and work schedule have resulted in low palm oil output. To continue supplying palm oil for local consumption, palm oil producing companies and other importers increased the importation of palm oil in recent months. Another main reason for the increase in recent months, the price for imported palm oil has been lower than the locally produced oil. This has increased the interest to buy imported oils. Due to the low production, and higher production cost of local palm oil, increased MPO imports is seen up until recent months.

Ghana has been preparing for an election this year and recently the government announced that the election will be taking place on December 7, 2020. In preparation for that, the government has been quite lenient with the lockdown restrictions from the start to facilitate citizens to register in-person to vote back in July, while the number of COVID cases was still high. This situation brought in criticism from the citizens on government’s handling of health and safety of public during the pandemic.

As long as the pandemic situation continues and the local palm oil is still struggling with production volume and cost, the uptrend on Malaysian palm oil imports is expected to continue. Malaysian oil palm industry members should take this opportunity to continue to increase their market share in Ghana, and other palm oil-producing countries within Sub-Saharan Africa that are facing similar situation and trend like in Ghana.

Prepared by  Karthigayen Selva Kumar 

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