Traditional palm oil processing is one of the leading reasons for low palm oil production in Africa.Due to the crude methods of squeezing out palm oil from the pulp of the palm fruit, a lot of oil still remains in the pulp and is lost through this ineffective and wasteful process.
Traditional palm oil squeezing machine
Modern palm oil processing process harvested palm fruits into final grade palm oil with little or no waste and minimal use of human power.Using machines, the process typically involves sterilizing and threshing the bunches to free the palm fruit, mashing the fruit and pressing out the crude palm oil.The crude oil is further treated to purify and dry it for storage and sale in both local and international markets.
Modern palm oil press machine
An investment in a palm oil milling plant can be a great source of income if it is located close enough to oil palm sources. The two major ways to make money from this venture are:
Charge a service fee to mill/process harvested palm fruits for customers. You could charge a flat fee on a per kilogram or per hour basis. The value you offer to customers is a quick, easy and labour-free way to get their palm fruits milled and processed to palm oil.
Another popular method of making money from palm oil mills is to buy off harvested palm fruits directly from small-scale farmers, produce the palm oil and then sell directly to both local and international markets.
This strategy has a greater potential for huge profits because of the mill’s capacity to buy palm fruits at low prices and sell the processed palm oil at a much higher price.
Palm oil processing plant
To succeed with this strategy, there are a couple of things you will need to watch out for:
Operating a mill is likely to require a lot of electric power. With high fuel prices and poor electricity supply in many parts of Africa, this is likely to be the single most influential and challenging factor in determining the profitability of this venture.
Another important factor is the quality of palm fruits you buy from farmers. You should ensure that they are of the high yield variety (preferably Tenera). A failure in this area may lead to low palm oil production volumes and poor profits.
Other factors to consider before starting an oil mill are skilled labour to operate and maintain the machinery, quality control in processing the palm oil and easy access to markets.