Saturday, July 7, 2012

PLANTATION LIFE (7) Oil Palm - Malaysia’s Golden Crop

The palm fruit is naturally reddish in colour because of the high beta-carotene content, the same nutrients that give tomatoes, carrots and other fruits and vegetables their rich colours. It is about the size of a large plum and grows in large bunches.

When ripe, each bunch of fruit weighs 40-50 kilogrammes. Oil palm bears fruit the whole year round, an average plant has an economic life of 25 to 30 years.

The oil palm is an important agricultural crop, which yields three important sources of food, namely palm oil, palm kernel oil and palm kernel cake. While the first two products can be used for human consumption, such as cooking oil, margarines, shortenings, bakery fats, vanaspati, ice creams and Vitamin E, etc., palm kernel cake is used as an animal feed.

Palm oil is currently the largest component of the global oils and fats trade and Malaysia continues to feature as one of the largest producers in the world; providing this edible oil for a number of wide-ranging industries in the food and non-food sectors, including recently, supplying renewable energy from its biomass. 

An average of 3.7 tonnes of palm oil, 0.4 tonnes of palm kernel oil and 0.6 tonnes of palm kernel cake is obtainable from one hectare of land. Oil palm occupies less than 5% of the global oil crops planted area and less than 1% of the total agricultural land area in the world.

 “Malaysia's oil palm plantations, which directly employ 580,000 jobs, supports two million livelihoods. Based on the track record in Malaysia and Indonesia, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) is funding a project in Uganda to test the effectiveness of oil palm planting as a poverty eradication tool”.

"Planting oil palm trees help alleviate poverty because palm oil can generate returns of about US$3,000 per hectare (RM10,320) while other food crop generates less than US$100 (RM340)"  ..…………Chairman and Founder, World Growth, a former career diplomat also chairman of the national Australian APEC Study Centre, one of Australia's leading economic researcher based at RMIT University, Melbourne.

Interesting updates on the oil palm industry, go here.

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