Is there a big difference between Nigeria’s Palm Oil and Malaysia’s Palm Oil?
They say we all see things in different lights.
There is a saying here in Nigeria
What might appear white to you, will be brown to a politician, grey to a lawyer and Red to a policeman, lol.
This same view is held in the Oil Palm Industry, particularly in the area of Palm Oil Production.
The Big difference between Nigeria’s Palm Oil and Malaysia’s Palm Oil
Now let me ask you a question
Which of the two images in the picture below contain Palm oil?
If you said the image on the right, you are correct.
If you said the image on the left, you are also correct as well.
How you ask?
In Nigeria we have grown up seeing and using Palm Oil in its raw state(Crude Palm Oil), the red rich carotene containing oil we love, this we use for all kinds of native soups and sauces.
While if you grew up in Malaysia or Indonesia, you will be more use to the clear coloured Palm oil (RGB Palm Oil)
Why is this so?
The History of Cooking Oil in Nigeria
You see here in Nigeria, Crude Palm Oil is produced for use in our native dishes, although over the years we have have adapted it for other dishes.
As a cooking oil, it has too many properties that don’t seat well with other dishes i.e stew and frying.
The redness of it will change the color of jellof rice and other dishes, while trying to fry an egg or do pastries with it just won’t bring out the natural flavor you want. Let not also forget that that red color will change the color of the pastry as well.
So we had to look for another cooking oil, enter Ground Nut oil, before the 1960’s we were known as one of the largest producers of Ground Nuts. We had ground nut pyramids in the north that stretched as far as the eyes can see, with this cash crop came ground oil production which serviced the whole of the country and introduced a new cooking oil source in Nigeria.
Then the boom of ground nut waned in the late 1960’s, taking with it the ground nut oil industry. As companies shifted operations from agriculture to the new Oil of Petroleum, we began to import ground nut oil to handle out cooking oil needs.
Now you have to understand that back then we had Palm Oil and didn’t have use for Palm Kernel oil, because we didn’t have the technology or the investments needed to develop Palm Kernel oil.
It wasn’t till the later 1970’s that the cost of importing and producing ground oil drove some some industrious Nigerians to seek other types of cooking oil, different thing plants were tried. rapeseeds, sunflower seeds and Palm Kernel.
People gradually learn that Palm Kernel nuts gave more output of oil per ton than other oil seeds, and thus a new industry in palm kernel oil production was born. Since we had a lot of Palm Kernel nuts just wasting away in various plantations across Nigeria, it became our cheapest source of cooking oil till date.
Now you can understand why the demand for Palm Kernel Oil locally is high and the demand for Palm Oil Locally is low. The reverse is the case in the international market, high demand for Refined Palm Oil and Low demand for Palm Kernel oil.
Why is the demand for Refined Palm Oil in the global market higher than Palm Kernel Oil?
To answer that you have to understand what Refined palm Oil is and what it is used for
When Palm oil is refined, it goes through various processes,
The first of which is where its Complex Organo Phosphorus Compounds are removed by hydration with water, Orthophosphoric Acid and Polybasic Acids. The process is called Degumming (removing the gums or the phosphatides). If this is not done.
The next stage is bleaching of the degummed Palm oil to change its colour and purify the Fat and Oil, this is done by using either Acid Activated Bleaching Earth(Clay), Natural Bleaching Earth or Activated Carbon and Synthetic Silicates.
The last stage, Deodorization is done by using a vacuum steam distillation process. Here the oil s passed through a high pressure steam vacuum to change the smell and separate other volatile compounds.
Once all this is done, you get RBDPO Refined Bleached Deodorised Palm Oil.
Now comes its uses.
Refined Palm Oil can be used on its own or fractioned into other oils or mixed with Palm Kernel oil for other uses.
When Refined Palm Oil is Fractioned you get these two new products.
In its pure form, RBD palm olein is sold as cooking oil. RBD palm olein is also used in the manufacture of margarine and shortenings and in industrial frying of processed foods like potato chips, chips, instant noodles and other snack foods.
RBD palm stearin is used in for margarine and shortenings and as a source for producing specialty fats for coating in confectionery. It’s also used in the soap and oleochemical industries.
Malaysia and Indonisea focused more on exploiting both Palm Oil and Palm Kernel oil, by refining it to the worlds export standards. While we focused on producing Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil for local use.
This is the reason why our export of Palm oil and Palm kernel oil is so low, we consumer the bulk of it locally and we do not refine Palm Oil or Palm Kernel Oil for export.
These differences in the way we view Palm Oil is the reason why Malaysia and Indoneisa are seen as the top oil palm producers in the world and Nigeria is now currently ranked at the Fifth.
This alone is the big difference between Nigeria’s Palm Oil and Malaysia’s Palm Oil, its the reason we are losing so much revenue in the Oil Palm Sector in Nigeria. Our inability to refine our palm oil is the reason why our export of palm oil has remained the same since 2010
You have to understand that at this age and time, the world needs RBG Palm Oil and not the CPO(Crude Palm Oil) which we currently produce in wasteful abundance. In the past we have tried to sell and export our CPO to the west, but since they already buy Refined Palm Oil why would they buy Crude Palm Oil and refine it themselves. When they can get the refined Palm Oil from Malaysia and Indoniesa.
We need to up our game and start Refining our Palm Oil for our local use and for exports.
As a Producer of Palm Oil, Nigeria has reached that stage where it needs to diversify as indoniesia and Malaysia did.
They started the process in small holdings and little by little, they grew into a mega producer and exporter.
Who said we can’t do the same thing.
So, over the next couple of weeks, I will show you how you can refine Palm Oil into vegetable oil, using a list of details, formulas and videos to help you alone the way.
We will look at the processes, the machines involved and how you can do it locally (if possible)
If you have any questions, please feel free to drop us a comment below.