Palm Oil Processing 101
Palm oil processing is part of everyday life here in southeast Nigeria. Every community has countless palm trees giving the landscape a picturesquely tropical look, while the not-so-pleasant scent of palm fruit cooking is never far away. The process of turning palm fruit from the oil palm tree into crude palm oil for consumption is not only an important end product and key ingredient in many local dishes, but it is also an income generating activity that enables many women, as well as some men and youth, to earn additional finances to support their families. Nigeria is currently the third largest producer of palm oil, but consumes more crude oil than it produces leading to the importation of additional oil from other countries. The oil produced from both the palm fruit and palm kernels have many other uses as well, including cosmetics and as an ingredient in processed foods.