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close this bookSmall Scale Processing of Oilfruits and Oilseeds (GTZ, 1989, 100 p.)
close this folder2. Target Groups and Technologies
close this folder2.1 Family level
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.1.1 Oil palm fruit
View the document2.1.2 Oil seeds


In most societies, the family comprises the smallest economic unit. In developing countries, however, a family does not usually consist simply of husband, wife and their children. More often, a family includes other relatives (grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, etc.) or even close friends living in the same household. In islamic countries, a family might include a second or more wives and their children. In traditionally oriented societies, the extended family is still very important for the social identity of the individual.

Viewed from the point of oil processing, a family is defined here as a group of people living together in one household, ranging in numbers from one (exceptionally) up to 30, sharing common social and economic interests and usually having their meals together. Oil processing at this level of social aggregation primarily aims at subsistence needs, but also contributes to cash income.

In many areas of developing countries, oil fruits and oil seeds are available as a rawmaterial, and processes to prepare vegetable oil are known to the population. The modest needs for vegetable oil for the family pot are supplied by the women, following traditional methods of processing.

Next to the production of oil for the family, women also make products for sale on the local market to earn the money required to pay for their contributions to other family needs, such as the ingredients for the daily family pot. These are generally made up by some vegetables and spices and, when the money is available, by some (dried) fish or meat, all prepared into a sauce. This sauce is eaten as a relish, that accompanies the staple, which is based on a starchy food as a grain or a root crop.

When men produce an oilcrop that must be processed before marketing, the processing is generally not carried out at the family level. When sizable quantities are involved, the processing is carried out by specialized groups at the village level. This will be dealt with in the next chapter.

Below, a description is given of some traditional methods at family level to process oil palm fruit and oil seeds for food and cash income.