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29.07.2005 Business & Finance

Unilever to use allan blackia nuts as substitute for palm oil

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Tema, July 29, GNA- The Netherlands is supporting Unilever Ghana Limited with about 400,000 Euros, as grants for its research into the commercial production of Allan Blackia nuts. Uniliver will also provide funds to complement the cost of the project, which is 738,712 Euros and expected to be completed by the end of May 2006. These were made known to the press by the Dutch Ambassador, Mr Arie Vender Wiel on Thursday, during his working visit to the factory in Tema to familiarise himself with the company's activities.

The Chief Executive Officer of Unilever and other staff of the company conducted him round the factory's soap wrapper points, food packaging and quality control laboratory and other units of the factory. The nuts, which are abundantly available in the country, could be a source of oil and a substitute for palm oil, which has been Unilever's main raw material for the production of margarines. The nuts have a fatty acid composition and solidify at 30 degrees Celsius, and three kilograms of nuts can be processed into one kilogram of oil.

The pilot project is expected to prove the commercial feasibility in a sustainable nuts production chain, starting with a production of 4,500 tons of oil per year to a large scale, after testing 7,000 to 10,000 tons. Mr Wiel said after the project was completed, a new supply chain would be established and this will create a direct employment of 200 people, whiles some 1,700 people will be involved in the collection of the nuts. He expressed his satisfaction at the operations in the factory and commended management for their efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS.

Mr Wiel said it was not only the responsibility of the Government to deal with the disease and called on individuals and organisations to assist in preventing it's spread. He said Unilever would sustain its role of seeking the welfare of the people. The Chief Executive Officer of Unilever Ghana, Mr Charles Coffie, expressed his appreciation for the company's efforts at exploring avenues for raw materials.