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OIL PALM (Elaeis guineensis

The oil palm belongs to the plant family called palmea or palm family. On commercial basis, both the oil and the kernel are important. The oil is obtained from the mesocarp and the kernel from the endocarp. The fruit is called a drupe. Oil palm is an oil crop.

Land preparation for oil palm cultivationland is cleared and hoe is used to make heaps or ridges. Flat land can be used for growing oil palm. Land can also be prepared mechanically by ploughing, harrowing and ridging.

Varieties /Cultivars of oil palm

: Dura, pisifera and Tenera

(i) Dura: This variety has a thin mesocarp, thick endocarp (shell) with a large kernel. It is genetically homozygous and represented by DD.
(ii) Pisifera: This variety has a thick mesocarp (i.e. it contains very little oil content), absence of endocarp (no shell) with small kernel. It is genetically homozygous recessive for shell. It is represented by DD.
(iii) Tenera: This variety has a thick mesocarp, thin endocarp with moderate sized kernel. It is a cross between Dura and pisifera. It is capable of producing by DD. Heterozygous and it is represented by DD.
Climatic and soil requirements: Oil palm requires a temperature of 18 – 27, rainfall of 150cm – 200cm per annum, a deep loamy soil, rich in organic matter, and a slightly acidic soil of pH4.5 – 6.

Method of oil palm Propagation

By seeds

Planting Dates :

(i) Pre-nursery: August – October (ii) Nursery: 9 months later (iii) Field: March – May (a year after)
Seed rate: 120 – 150 seeds/ha

process of Germination of oil palm seeds

Seeds are soaked in water for seven days, the water being changed daily. After seven days, the seeds are placed in the shade for 24hours to dry before being bagged (500 per bag) in polythene bags. They are then sent to the germinator which has a temperature of 29oc (102oF) for 80days. Soaking then begins again changed daily. The seeds are then dried under shade for two hours before being sent to the cooling house. After about weeks, germination begins. This method produces a germination 0f 85 – 90%.

Pre-nursery Operations for oil palm

(i) Seed boxes or trays are filled with top soil, rich in humus
(ii) The seeds are sown at a spacing of 7.0cm by 7.0cm.
(iii) Shades are provided
(iv) Watering is done in the morning and evening
(v) Mulching should be done
(vi) Pre-nursery lasts for hi iv months before they are transferred to the nursery.

Nursery Operations for oil palm production

(i) It requires a level, well-drained, loamy soil.
(ii) The nursery is ploughed and harrowed or polythene bags are used
(iii) Planting is done early April during which the seedlings are removed with a ball of earth
(iv) Spacing of 60cm by 60cm is required.
(v) Watering, weeding and mulching are done.

techniques for Transplanting oil palm seedling

(i) It is done after one year of seedlings in the nursery (April – May)
(ii) It is done with a ball of earth on the roots
(iii) A spacing of 9m by 9m in triangular form is required in a hole of 4.5cm deep on the field.
(iv) The roots are trimmed to encourage the development of new ones

Cultural Practices for oil palm cultivation

(1) Weeding: This should be done regularly, using cutlass or herbicides, e.g., Gramoxone.
(ii) Fertilizer Application: Apply N.P.K. 15:15:15 fertilizer at the rate of 800kg/ha.
(iii) Cover Crops: This should be evaporation and to add nutrients.
(iv) Pruning: This should be done regularly.

Maturity Period for oil palm

This is between three to seven years.

Harvesting of oil palm

: Mature bunches art. Harvested when the fruits are red or dark red in colour. The bunch is harvested will a cutlass or harvesting knife.

Oil palm Processing methods

Oil palm fruit can be processed in two ways:
(i) Traditional method: The fruits. are boiled after which they are pounded in, a mortar. The fibres and nuts are removed and the oil is separated from the residue by floatation, after mixing with water. The crude liquid is reboiled and the oil is carefully separated. The oil is later reheated to eliminate any trace of water.
(ii) Modern method: This involves. The extraction of oil with machines. The boiled fruits are macerated to separate the oil from the fiber and the kernel. Hand- screw press or the hand-hydraulic press is used to press the mixture. The oil is cleansed by allowing the mixture to settle and then boiled after the sludge and water have been removed. The oil is reheated to remove arty traces if water storage. The palm oil is stored in aluminum or large plastic containers, drum, tankers tins or bottles while the kernels, are cracked, dried and stored either for local consumption or for export.

Grades of Palm oil

Palm oil is graded into three major categories based on the quantity of free fatty acids (FFA) present in the oil. The three major grades are:
(i) Soft oil - It has low free fatty acid (FFA)
(ii) Hard oil - It has high free fatty acid (FFA)
(iii) Special oil – It has very low free fatty acid (FFA)

this is an except from a research institute for oil palm in Nigeria.
Breeding Programme and Progeny Trials: The Institute breeding programme was first articulated in 1957/58 based on the modified reciprocal recurrent selection procedure. From the results of progeny trials high grade Extension Work Seeds (EWS) were produced from tested dura mother palms, which gave good true to type tenera hybrid progenies in crosses with pisifera pollen palms. READ MORE HERE

Pests of Oil Palm and control methods

(i) Rodents: Rodents like rats, squirrel. Bush rats dig up and eat the seeds in the pre- nursery stage.
Control: Use wire mesh to surround the nursery beds. read more about animal pests here

Diseases of Oil Palm and control methods

1. Blast Disease:
It is caused by a fungus which is spread within the soil. Symptoms: include yellow-coloured leaves with some brown patches cm the leaves of seedling in nursery. It may lead to the death of the seedlings.
(i) Regular watering and mulching of the Nursery beds.
(ii) Spray at regular intervals with captan.

(2) Anthracnose: It is also caused by a fungus.
Symptoms: of the disease include black I brown Patches on the surfaces of leaves in pre-nursery.
(i) Ensure adequate spacing within the pre-nursery.
(ii) Spray with captan or Perenox.

(3) Freckle disease: It is caused by a fungus which can be spread by wind or air. It may develop in pre-nursery and later spread to nursery and the field, when it is controlled.
Affected plants develop brown spots on the leaves

how to Control diseases of oil palm

(i) Remove infected plant
(ii) Spray with captan
(1) Galadima disease: It is caused by a bacterium which is spread within the soil.
Symptoms include rapid wilting and death of the entire plant.
(i) Avoid infested soil
(ii) Practice crop rotation, especially in pre-nursery and nursery stages.



important processes of oil palm production

1. Crude Palm Kernel Oil: A light yellow crude oil, extracted from the palm kernels, containing mainly lauric

2. Facilitator/Facilitation: An action or individual (or group of individuals) that temporarily works to develop
more inclusive, dynamic, and differentiated markets without becoming a part of the markets.

3. Food Security: Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to
sufficiently safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and
healthy lifestyle.

4. Market: A set of arrangements by which buyers and sellers are in contact to exchange goods or services;
the interaction of demand and supply.

5. Market System: The multi-player, multi-function arrangement comprising three main sets of functions
(core, rules and supporting) undertaken by different players (private sector, government, representative
organizations, civil society, etc) through which exchange takes place, develops, adapts and grows. A
construct through which both conventionally defined markets and basic services can be viewed.
Olein: Also referred to as Palm Olein is the light yellow edible oil obtained from the fractionation of
Refined Bleached and Deodorized Palm Oil, which is separated in two fractions by partial crystallization.
The liquid fraction is called Palm Olein.

6. Out-growers: A group of farmers supported with seedlings and other inputs (out-growers‟ scheme is
usually initiated mainly by government or sometimes by other non-state stakeholders) to encourage the
cultivation of oil palm as increase production of oil palm products.
7. Special Palm Oil (SPO): Premium grade palm oil with less than 5% free fatty acid (FFA) content,
extracted from the mesocarp of palm fruits.

6. Stearin: Also referred to as Palm Stearin is the solid fraction obtained from the fractionation of Refined
Bleached and Deodorized Palm Oil. It is mainly used by the food industry.
Technical Palm Oil (TPO): Palm oil with greater than 5% free fatty acid (FFA)
9. Transaction Costs: The costs associated with the basic process of exchange including costs concerned
with searching, screening, negotiating, contracting, monitoring and enforcing transactions.
Upgrading: In order to respond effectively to market opportunities, upgrading is the process by which
business owners innovate to add value to products or services and to make production and marketing
processes more efficient.
Value Addition: The enhancement added to a product or service by a company before the product is
offered to customers.
Value Chain Governance: The relationships among the buyers, sellers, service providers and regulatory
institutions that operate within or influence the range of activities required to bring a product or service
from inception to its end use


brief history of oil palm production in Nigeria

Economic growth and prosperity are central to long-term poverty alleviation for social and environmental
sustainability. The oil palm industry represents one of the most effective avenues for poverty alleviation,
food security and ensuring economic stability in Nigeria. Palm oil industry has the prospects of providing
employment for millions of unskilled and semi-skilled people. As demonstrated in other economies with
proper focus on production of commodities of large scale commercial values, improvement in the
production of oil palm can effectively mitigate the poverty level in Nigeria and especially in the Niger Delta
region (PIND, 2011). The Scoping Study was designed to include consideration of any Appropriate
Technology Enabled Development (ATED) potential.

The oil palm, a very versatile crop and nature’s gift to the tropics has from the colonial times played a
significant role in the socio-economic development of Nigeria. In 2010, Malaysia and Indonesia produced
87% of the world’s supply, eclipsing the next largest producer, Thailand, at 3%. Nigeria, until the 1960s
was the largest producer of palm oil, now is only 2% of the world’s supply. Although Nigeria is currently
the 4th largest producer of the commodity, the bulk of its oil palm still comes from the groves or small
holder plantations rather than the industrial plantations.

Nigeria is thought to have less than 600,000ha of cultivated plantations distributed among the small
holders and industrial estates. Production from these systems cannot match those from the over 4.9
million ha of cultivated small, medium and large estate holdings in Malaysia or from the over 7.5 million
ha from Indonesia, both of which account for nearly 90% of global production of the commodity. The
potential land available for Oil Palm development in Nigeria is estimated to be 24 million hectares (Omoti,

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