PALM OIL AND PALM KERNEL NUT PRODUCTION IN NIGERIA

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“Oil” is a collective term for more or less viscous, generally organic-chemical liquids. Depending on their chemical composition, a distinction may be drawn between fatty, essential, mineral and silicone oils.

Palm oil is an edible oil extracted from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis while Palm kernel oil is a white to yellowish oil which is solid at normal temperatures and is obtained from the kernels of the oil palm.

Until the late 1970’s when hydrocarbon was discovered in commercial quantity in Oloibiri, present day Bayelsa state, Agriculture remained the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy contributing over 90% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country as against the less than 40% it now contributes with crop production accounting for an estimated 85%, livestock 10% and the balance made up by fisheries and forestry.

Oil palm in Nigeria grows in the coastal belt which varies in depth from 100 to 150 miles and riverine belt which follows the valleys of the Niger and Benue for a distance of about 450 miles from the sea. The main palm oil producing states includes Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Edo and Ogun.

Palm oil forms an important part of the local diet in Nigeria because animal fats such as milk and butter are hardly consumed. It is used as an ingredient in soups, sauces and a variety of local dishes. Consequently, there had long been a thriving market for palm oil both within the main areas of production (Eastern and Western region) and the non-palm oil producing areas (Northern region).

Extensive market research has revealed that palm oil and palm kernel nuts are everyday goods used by individuals as well as Industries. Thus, the market is ongoing and is not dependent on the state of the economy and can be described as a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) commodity market, hence the need for the palm kernel nuts which is the main raw materials used in the production of palm kernel oil.

Palm kernel nuts are gotten from the cracking of shelled palm kernel nut gotten from the milling of palm oil from the pulp of the oil palm seed.

Palm kernel oil is derived from the milling of palm kernel nuts while palm kernel cake is a bye-product gotten processing of palm kernel oil. They form a very important part of the feeds of animal.

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