Using Feminine wisdom to turn despondency into a bright and wealthy future

Deborah Munyekenye
Posted July 9, 2018 from Kenya

Fifteen years ago, my community in Kakamega, Kenya,   had been encouraged to plant Palm oil trees as a way of increasing and diversifying cash crop holdings per family.

 We embraced the new idea positively and families planted palm oil trees with passion.  We were advised that the palm oil takes five years to start bearing fruits/ berries.  We waited patiently for the five years and true, the berries started coming up.

After the five years, we were upbeat as we knew that our economic status was going to positively improve.

To get the oil from the palm oil berries an extractor was required; the community had been informed that once the palm oil was ripe, an extracting machine would be provided. After inquiries it emerged that the machine could not be provided due to the low volumes of the berries.

The community was disillusioned and some started contemplating to uprooting the palm oil trees which they had waited for patiently for the preceding five years.

I looked at the situation and purposed to come up with a solution for the families to make them not uproot their trees, they had waited for five years and above, and they were looking forward to the time they would start getting cash out of their investments. If the trees were uprooted, it would have been the women and children who would have suffered more. I did not want this to happen as women were already disadvantaged in the community due to their low level of education, employment and asset ownership.

I researched further and found out that the palm oil has immense benefits for our health, hence the need to preserve the trees for wealth creation and health benefits.

The benefits of the palm oil to the body are:-

  • Contains energy boosting properties
  • Anti oxidant rich. It contains beta carotene which helps to prevent cancer and boosts the immune system.
  • May prevent cancer as the tocopherol in the oil eliminates the cancer cells completely.
  • An anti thrombotic as it helps in preventing the clotting of blood in blood vessels and veins.
  • Balanced cholesterol, and when used in moderation, it can be used to balance out the cholesterol levels in the body.
  • Rich in vitamin K
  • Contains omega 3 fatty acids
  • Has vitamin E for youthful appearance
  • Supports pregnancy
  • Contains vitamin D for healthy joints and bone density

Palm oil is beneficial as a trade activity and is also used in manufacturing soap, lubricants and edible oils.

I realized that there was a gap and need for urgent intervention in order to save the community from the situation.  I therefore decided to start buying the berries from the community to avoid the uprooting of the trees and also to provide them with financial benefits in the process of exchange.

Due to financial constraints, I could not afford the purchase of a modern oil extractor. I started processing the palm oil the manual and traditional way using large wooden mortars with wooden pestle which is a very tedious and labor intensive activity, time consuming and slow, expensive, inefficient as a lot of oil is trapped in the mixture as an emulsion and standing by the open fire during the operating period poses a health hazard. The good side of this is that I have been able to offer employment to the community, mainly women in the processing.

The community is now happy as they are able to dispose of their berries and get money in exchange, there are employment opportunities, their standard of living has improved and they are able to meet their obligations like paying school fees for their children.

I and the community, look forward to purchasing an extraction machine and moving away from the traditional way of extracting the oil in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments 14

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Jill Langhus
Jul 09, 2018
Jul 09, 2018

Hi Deborah. Welcome to World Pulse:-)

Thanks for sharing your inspiring story of how you empowered and supported the women in your community by starting a palm oil business. Have you been successful in selling this oil? Please keep us posted on your business progress, how you're able to help more women, and when you are able to purchase the extraction machine. Good luck in your endeavors.

Deborah Munyekenye
Jul 10, 2018
Jul 10, 2018

Hi.

Yes, we are currently selling the oil to the local market.
With increased production, we plan to sell to a bigger market.

Jill Langhus
Jul 10, 2018
Jul 10, 2018

Awesome. Good to hear:) Looking forward to seeing future posts to see how your business is progressing. Have a good day.

Stephanie Mah
Jul 09, 2018
Jul 09, 2018

Wow wow wow sister.great.you have encouraged me by your story. I wish to sent a picture of my young palms that I have
Nels. it like you post personally to me. Thanks sis for the great job.

Deborah Munyekenye
Jul 10, 2018
Jul 10, 2018

Wow, nice to know you are also having the palm. We have a lot to share.

Stephanie Mah
Jul 10, 2018
Jul 10, 2018

Yes sis. God be with us.

Bettina Amendi
Mar 18, 2019
Mar 18, 2019

Thank You Deborah,you made my day.What is the progress now?I would like to be part of the great initiative,kindly keep me posted.

Deborah Munyekenye
Mar 18, 2019
Mar 18, 2019

Hi Betina,

We are still processing the palm oil manually but looking forward to get a machine.
we have diversified more to bananas, bee farming . We have also started going organic by using cow dung and farm yard manure on our farms. This has led us to increase job opportunities.
Secondly we do training for women in micro & small enterprises with the aim of enabling them to scale up and grow.

Bettina Amendi
Mar 18, 2019
Mar 18, 2019

That is lovely,I commit myself to visit you and your team.I will inbox you other details. You are an encouragement to many I celebrate you.

Deborah Munyekenye
Mar 18, 2019
Mar 18, 2019

Welcome

Bettina Amendi
Mar 18, 2019
Mar 18, 2019

Before then,allow me to ask ,1)Do you have an idea how much would the palm oil extraction machine cost?
2)Do you package the current oil extraction, how do you do it and where do you sell the oil?
3)Have you approached any investor, government or individual?Any response?
4)What kind of partnership do you have in mind?
5)Are you registered?

Deborah Munyekenye
Apr 02, 2019
Apr 02, 2019

Hi Bettina,

1. The machine can cos around 200,000
2. We package and sell the oil on the local market
3 We have not reproached any financier but we are working to see if we can be able to purchase one
4. Any partnership that will help u develop
5. Yes we re registered

Bettina Amendi
Apr 02, 2019
Apr 02, 2019

Thanks Deborah,Kindly check your inbox for more details .

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jul 05, 2019
Jul 05, 2019

Hello, Deborah,

Thanks to Bettina I found your inspiring story! You are your community’s she-ro!

I’m happy that your community is reaping benefits from planting oil palms. I used to work in a non-government organization documenting the plantations of oil palms in our region. Unfortunately, the promises told to the community were not delivered. The locals did encounter many problems and they felt tricked by the corporation. If I remember it correctly, planting oil palms need a lot of water, and it affected the neighboring farms. That was only one of the many issues.

Please keep us updated with your palm oil progress. Thank you for sharing!

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