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Local Agro-Processing with Sustainable Technology: Sunflowerseed oil in Tanzania

Eric Hyman

Book/Report, 16 pages

The ram press is a small-scale, manual technology for edible oil extraction. It was first disseminated in Arusha, Tanzania in 1986 through a project implemented by the Lutheran Diocese of Arusha with funding from Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Appropriate Technology International (ATI), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID). In 1990, the Tanzanian Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO) began a follow-on project to extend the technology to other regions of the country, with funding from the same donors as the original project. The ram press is inexpensive and can be manufactured and repaired in informal sector, rural workshops using labour-intensive methods. It is portable, durable, easy to maintain, and does not require diesel fuel or electricity. It is primarily intended for village-based production and consumption of vegetable oil. The ram press was designed for soft-shelled varieties of sunflower seeds with a high oil content, but it can also be used for some other oilseeds. Unlike simple screw-operated batch presses, it does not require the additional step of decortication before pressing soft-shelled seeds. The product is cold-pressed oil, which has a longer shelf life and tastes better than oil produced in a motorised expeller.

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