Guide To Oil Palm Cultivation

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(Recommended by FAO and compiled by Vincent A. Yusuf)

Oil palms are cultivated in the regions where they grow well. The oil palm needs a region with the following characteristics:

Where it is hot all year round

The oil palm grows well where it is hot all 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.

It needs 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.

It needs lots of rain or water. 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 are fewer yields.

The plant needs 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.