How is palm oil harvested and processed?

Harvested bunches are transported to factories where they are first sterilised and then threshed. Once separated from the bunch, the fruits go through a digester, to then be mechanically pressed in order to extract oil from the pulp. The pulp of the mature fruit typically contains 56-70% of edible oil.

What is the method of propagating oil palm?

The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) is typically propagated in vitro by indirect somatic embryogenesis, a process in which somatic cells of an explant of choice are, via an intermediate phase of callus growth, induced to differentiate into somatic embryos.

Can palm oil be farmed in a sustainable way?

Palm oil can be produced more sustainably and there is a role for companies, governments, and consumers to play. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil or RSPO was formed in 2004 in response to increasing concerns about the impacts palm oil was having on the environment and on society.

How palm oil is planted?

The cultivation of oil palm is mostly done in a monoculture, except in Africa where it is part of an agroforest system. Palm trees are planted about 10 meters apart so that their crowns do not overlap. Three years after planting, the trees start to bear fruits, and reach peak production after about 10 years.

How is palm oil refined?

Palm oil products are made using milling and refining processes: first using fractionation, with crystallization and separation processes to obtain solid (stearin), and liquid (olein) fractions. Then melting and degumming removes impurities. Then the oil is filtered and bleached.

Which country is the largest producer of palm oil?

Indonesia and Malaysia are by far the largest palm oil producing nations. Together they account for 85-90 percent of the total production of this vegetable oil. Other important producing countries are Colombia, Nigeria and Thailand.

How long does it take an oil palm tree to grow and be ready for harvest?

about four years
It takes about four years for oil palms to produce fruits suitable for harvest. Each tree will then continue to produce fruit for up to 30 years, at which point they will have grown to around 40 feet tall.

How is palm oil sustainably produced?

2. How can palm oil be grown sustainably? In a nutshell, sustainable palm oil does make businesses profitable while not harming people or the environment. To achieve this, palm oil majors have in the past few years adopted policies that promise no deforestation, no peat development, and no exploitation (NDPE).

What is wrong with sustainable palm oil?

The consequences of unsustainable production The exponential growth of palm oil poses unprecedented threats to forests, wildlife and people in the areas where it is grown and harvested. Across southeast Asia, and increasingly in Africa and Latin America, tropical forests are being converted to oil palm plantations.

Is palm oil processed?

The oil winning process, in summary, involves the reception of fresh fruit bunches from the plantations, sterilizing and threshing of the bunches to free the palm fruit, mashing the fruit and pressing out the crude palm oil. The crude oil is further treated to purify and dry it for storage and export.

Why is palm oil not sustainable?

The biggest impact of unsustainable palm oil production is the large-scale devastation of tropical forests. As well as widespread habitat loss for endangered species like Asian rhinos, elephants, tigers and orangutans, this can lead to significant soil erosion.

How are oil palms propagated?

Oil palms for plantations are typically propagated with seeds taken from fruits. Seed treatment is a responsible stage in oil palm cultivation and management because improperly prepared seeds will germinate after a couple of years due to long dormancy time.

Is replanting oil palm similar to land‐use change or intensive agricultural practices?

We suggest that the disturbance caused by replanting oil palm is similar to that of land‐use change or intensive agricultural practices, as the relatively complex habitat and diverse vegetation structure of mature plantations are removed.

What are the effects of oil palm replanting on soil?

It is likely that after oil palm replanting, there will be a synergistic effect from the degradation of soil biodiversity and soil quality, slowing or preventing soil rehabilitation.

How can we support smallholders in replanting oil palm trees?

Additionally, we work closely with Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) to ensure that replanting costs can be covered. This includes compensation funds provided by the company through bank loans for smallholders for IDR 500,000/ha/month for four years to help them support themselves before the oil palm trees reach their maturity stage.