Liberian Entrepreneur Converts Wasted Palm Kernels into Sustainable Livelihoods

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In Liberia, rural communities face systemic barriers to economic mobility. Yet social entrepreneur Mahmud Johnson spotted an opportunity in one of the country’s most abundant resources: oil palm.

Mahmud Johnson CEO of J Palm

Johnson founded J-Palm Liberia in 2013 to create income streams for smallholders while meeting local needs for affordable, eco-friendly products. Today, the company employs over 100 staff and farmers, converting neglected palm kernels into sustainable jobs and clean energy solutions.

Alleviating Poverty by Producing Value-Added Goods

Many small palm farms waste discarded kernels or sell them at rock-bottom prices to brokers. J-Palm upcycles this overlooked resource into higher-value consumer goods. Palm oil forms the base for their growing line of organic, vegan-friendly skincare and haircare items.

Liberian Entrepreneur Converts Wasted Palm Kernels into Sustainable Livelihoods

Palm Kernels By-products

They also craft biodegradable soaps, natural glycerin, and biodiesel from kernels, displacing wood charcoal reliance and slowing deforestation. With global demand surging for plant-based beauty and green products, J-Palm sustainably taps into these markets to uplift their supply chain.

The company reinvests profits into initiatives supporting rural youth and women with equipment loans, farming resources, and vocational training.

Leadership in Business with Purpose

Johnson’s vision for equitable development through enterprise gained global recognition as a 2014 Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship scholar.

J-Palm now boasts wide product distribution and export partners across West Africa and the United States. They aim to become Liberia’s leading consumer goods producer by creating sustainable jobs while stewarding the land.

Driven by both passion and pragmatism, Johnson represents the next generation of African entrepreneurs building locally-sourced brands with international appeal and impact. J-Palm puts the power back into the hands of Liberian oil palm growers to drive lasting social change.

Also read: Meet Kwami Williams, Africa’s Organic Moringa Farming Giant

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