Nganget Joe-Brown Njoh, a student from the College of Technology in the University of Bamenda, has designed a prototype oil press machine called the Screw Cap Oil Press, with the ambition to empower local farmers and revolutionise the local oil extraction industry.
The 22-year-old who believes his craft will bring a solution that could reshape the landscape of agriculture, points out that the Screw Cap Oil Press will be able to extract oil from a variety of oilseeds like groundnut, soybeans, cocoa, and akpi seeds (njansang) with remarkable precision and control.
Joe-Brown says his motivation for the innovation is simply to free local farmers from dependency on costly, imported oil extraction machines which are often out of their reach.
He envisions a future where local farmers would take total control of their products and the market, thanks to the Screw Cap Oil Press.
Over the years, rural farmers have relied on labour-intensive methods like hot water flotation and manual presses, yielding disappointingly low quantities of oil. Joe-Brown wants to change the narrative with his prototype which will ensure the delivery of a higher oil yield depending on the seeds and completing the extraction in less than twenty-five minutes.
Unlike industrialised methods which often have several health concerns due to the use of hexane in the process of extraction and expensive price tags, Joe-Brown’s prototype is fabricated using locally available materials. This not only makes it a more affordable alternative but also promotes sustainability and local empowerment.
According to Kapreng Delre, a metalwork designer, “building parts like a two-horsepower motor, a cylindrical barrel, a screw shaft, a hopper, and a mainframe, the Screw Cap Oil Press can be assembled and tested in less than two months”.
What sets the prototype apart is not only its precision and control but also its ability to optimise energy usage, reducing operational costs and environmental impact. As Joe-Brown emphasises, “This machine empowers local farmers without demanding technical expertise.
“Just power it on, fill the hopper with grains, and witness the magic as it crushes the grains and extracts oil with ease,” he says.
However, the innovation doesn’t stop at oil, it extends to a valuable by-product – protein cake. This nutritious output produced during the oil extraction process can be a game-changer to human and livestock nutrition, containing minerals for those pursuing healthy diets and supporting animal feed.
Joe-Brown’s journey has already taken him to national competitions, where the Screw Cap Oil Press has attracted attention. Yet, his vision extends beyond praises. He aspires to establish a company that will extract oil naturally from various oilseeds, serving households and promoting a sustainable, locally-driven agricultural future.
By Didier Vernyuy Yangeh