Cameroon: Farmer puts palm residues to work (by Anne Mireille Nzouankeu, for Farm Radio Weekly, in Cameroon)

| November 19, 2012

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Seraphin Mbog Massock used to get annoyed at the palm residues piling up in his yard, especially because the garbage collection company did not come regularly. But then he discovered the opportunities offered by palm residues. He discovered that the residues could, in fact, help him save resources – and even earn extra money.

Mr. Mbog Massock inherited a four-hectare palm plantation in the Central Region of Cameroon after his father passed away. He says, “I harvest between 20 and 25 tonnes of palm kernels each growing season. Then, I process the kernels into palm oil.”

When palm trees are grown for palm oil, only 10 per cent of the plant is transformed into oil. But the remainder has great potential.

An older palm farmer showed Mr. Mbog Massock how to process palm waste. Now he processes palm residues such as fruit pulp, fibres, husks and kernels.

After he presses and extracts palm oil from the fruit pulp, he dries the palm fibres. These fibres take the place of fuel wood while cooking the oil. He also cracks open palm nut husks and uses the palm kernels to make palm kernel oil.

Even the ashes have a purpose. Mr. Massock notes that they make a rich fertilizer for vegetables.

Martha Angela Ngo Keng is a merchant in the town of Edéa, Cameroon. She makes her living selling products made from palm waste. Her products move quickly because palm kernel oil is highly prized by soap manufacturers and for making cleaning products for newborn babies.

Palm residues can also be processed into animal feed. Palm kernel shells are mixed with other ingredients to make a cake. The cake is suitable for both swine and poultry.

Jerome Lindjeck is a pig farmer who buys palm kernel cake from Mr. Mbog Massock. He used to feed his pigs food scraps. Now he uses kernel cake. He explains: “I tested kernel cake because I wanted my pigs to grow faster – and this is indeed the case. I am doubly pleased because these cakes do not cost much.”