|Better Farming Series 24 - The Oil Palm (FAO - INADES, 1977, 40 p.)|
|Modern oil palm cultivation|
Oil palms are cultivated in the regions where they grow well and where there are oil mills.
To repary the grower the oil palm needs a region:
16. Where it is hot all the year round
The oil palm grows well where it is hot all the year round: between 25 and 28 degrees C.
If the temperature drops, the oil palm produces fewer leaves and is more often attacked by diseases. It therefore yields less.
A hot temperature enables the oil palm to make many leaves and to produce many clusters of fruit.
A lot of sunshine
Where there is a lot of sunshine, there will be strong photosynthesis, provided the oil palm is in soil which gives it water and mineral salts.
The leaves grow large, the fruit ripens well, and there is more oil in the fruits.
If it does not rain much, or if it does not rain for several months, the leaves do not grow well.
If there are few new leaves, there are few flowers and few clusters of fruit.
There is less yield.
17. Where the soil is flat, deep, permeable and rich.
The oil palm needs a flat soil. If the soil is not flat,
transport is difficult and costs a lot. Erosion is severe; the water carries
away the earth. The oil palm needs a deep soil. The roots of the oil palm cannot
develop if they meet a hard layer. They cannot take up water and mineral salts
that are deep down.
If the oil palm does not have enough water, yields are low. The oil palm needs a permeable soil. The oil palm does not grow well if water remains around its roots for too long.
The oil palm needs a rich soil. In order to produce many large clusters of fruit, the oil palm needs a lot of mineral salts. If the soil is poor, mineral salts can be added by applying fertilizers.
18. Where there are oil mills
With traditional methods, a lot of oil is left in the pulp and the kernels.
The machines of the oil mills extract all the oil contained in the pulp and the kernels.
Selected oil palms produce many clusters of fruit.
To get all the oil out of these clusters yourself, you would have to spend a lot of time.
Before planting selected oil palms, make sure you can sell the fruit clusters to a mill.
19. Where business companies or extension services can give the grower advice.
It takes much money and work to make an oil palm plantation.
The grower must use modern methods in order to pay for his expenses and earn money. He will need advice on:
· how to choose the site for his plantation
· how densely to plant it
· how to look after the plantation
· how to apply fertilizers
· how to protect the oil palms against disease