Akan Studies Home Page




Other Pages:

CEC Training Modules

Akan Studies Site Map

Sociology for beginners


Kompan Adepa

Go to the People

Ghana Web

Men and Women; (5) Abe (Oil Palm)

Other Products

by Phil Bartle, PhD

The oil palm (abe) has thirty (ie many or uncountable) uses. You can not taboo the oil palm; you will always touch it.
─Akan proverb─

Files in the Oil Palm Set

Other Oil Palm Products:

To complete the essay on abe, let us look at a few other things made of the tree.

Stripping palm branches to make baskets

A young man stripping palm branches to make baskets and mats.

This young lad is stripping the branches of abe. From its beginning, the branches come out from the trunk at ground level. They are cut off as the tree grows, always a few at the top for the tree to live and grow.

Stack of Baskets Carried on Head        A Kwawu farmer

Baskets Made from Oil Palm Branches

These strips of branches can be used to make baskets (as seen above), mats, skirts, fences, or drying racks to dry the cocoa, or many other woven items.

Making a roof from palm branches

Palm branches used as swish roofing

Palm Branches Used as Roofing


A blind man making string from palm branches

The string can be used to make palm skirts used by the older local gods who speak Guan, or it can be used to tie together mats that are used to dry cocoa.

Palm Branch Skirt Worn by One of the Old Guan Gods

Cocoa beans drying on mat of palm branches

This mat is used to dry cocoa beans, Ghana's major cash crop

Even after the tree is used to make palm wine by draining all the sap, it does not stop being productive. After all the sap is tapped, and all the branches removed, the tree is allowed to rot. In the rotting palm tree, a special kind of grub grows –– about the size, consistency and colour of my thumb, without the thumbnail. It is the larval stage of the rhinoceros beetle. Harvested, the grubs can be fried, and alone they are delicious, tasting much like shrimp minus the sea flavour. They can also be put in soups and stews, if there are enough left.

The tapper falls the palm tree              

The Larval Stage of the Rhinoceros Beetle

About the time of the first rains each year, a particular mushroom grows only in the rotting (usually red) soil left by the disintegrating tree. It is delicious, and highly prized.

The abe has thirty (many, uncountable) uses.

If you copy text from this site, please acknowledge the author(s)
and link it back to cec.vcn.bc.ca/cmp/
This site is hosted by the Vancouver Community Network (VCN)

 Slogans and Proverbs: Following the path of least resistance makes all rivers
and some men crooked

© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
Web Design by Lourdes Sada
Last update: 2014.11.07

 Akan Studies Home page