Palm Oil Production

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1.1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Palm fruit obtained from oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) is a popular tropical fruit which is usually consumed fresh or boiled and processed into palm oil, palm kernel cake and palm kernel oil. Palm produce (Palm oil and palm kernel) accounted for about 51.2% of the total Nigeria’s domestic export between 1906 and 1913 (Soyebo et al., 2005). It earned the nation about 22% of the foreign exchange up to the beginning of the civil war. Nigeria’s domestic palm oil production as at 1986 was estimated to be 760000 metric tons (Omoti, 2003). Its production was evaluated at about 28 million metric tonnes, word wide (Oil World Annual 2003 & Oil World week, 2003). However, the demand for palm oil and palm kernel oil is rapidly
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Adebayo, 2004, Emeka and Olomu, 2007 reported that palm kernel from the cracked palm nuts are crushed in palm kernel mill to get the palm kernel oil that is used for soap making, glycerine margarine, candle pomade, oil paint, polish and medicine. The kernel cake serve as ingredient for livestock feeds and it is widely used in livestock industries while the fibers are used in the boiler as fuel. Due to its economic value, palm oil processing is considered as a traditional source of revenue for people. Men for instance processed palm oil to meet domestic consumption needs and to satisfy social obligation such as payment of bride’s price, buying of essential items such as salt or luxury item like gin. Furthermore, palm oil processing made immense contribution towards meeting the socio-economic needs of processors. Therefore, palm oil processing serves as a source of livelihood, income and also provides food for processors (Oladipo, 2008). Palm oil is naturally reddish in color because of a high beta-carotene content. It is not to be confused with palm kernel oil derived from the kernel of the same fruit, (Poku, 2002) or coconut oil derived from the kernel of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). The differences are in color (raw palm kernel oil lacks carotenoids and is not red), and in saturated fat content: Palm mesocarp oil is 41% saturated, while Palm Kernel oil and Coconut oil are 81% and 86% saturated respectively (Harold, 2004). Palm oil and palm kernel oil, the major products of oil palm, were once very vital to Nigeria’s export trade as Nigeria was a leading producer of oil palm produce in the world. However, since 1965, there has been a noticeable decline in her oil palm production (Mgbeje, 2004). By 1966, other competing countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia became leading producers as their production surpassed Africa’s total palm oil production

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