Benin women cross their palms with silver
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CTA. 1991. Benin women cross their palms with silver. Spore 35. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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In Benin 98% of palmnut processing is done by village women, showing that post-harvest work can provide a living and thereby help to keep the population in the villages, even though the trend is to migrate to the towns. In Tadokome, in south-west...
In Benin 98% of palmnut processing is done by village women, showing that post-harvest work can provide a living and thereby help to keep the population in the villages, even though the trend is to migrate to the towns. In Tadokome, in south-west Benin, an association of 33 women buys clusters of palmnuts from the region's planters and process it into oil which is then exported to neighbouring Togo and Nigeria. Despite their rudimentary: and small-scale processing methods, the oil produced is of very high quality. This means that the women are able to compete with the industrial oil processing plants in the region, which, despite heavy investment, can scarcely supply more than the requirements of the soap factories. The process is very simple: the nuts are cooked on woodfires, trodden by foot (the only part played by men) in wooden boats or old canoes, and heated again to separate the oil. From April till June the village produces approximately 240 litres of oil per rnonth, although only 60 litres per month are produced out of season. An attempt in 1987 to put production on a semi-industrial footing failed because the machinery provided by the Local Initiative Support Fund was not suitable for village conditions. The women went back to their tried, trusted, and cheap traditional methods.
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