Why Palm Oil
Why We do What We Do
Palm oil is the most versatile vegetable oil crop in the world, used in over 50 percent of packaged consumer food products, more critically, it is a key food ingredient across Africa. Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world with ideal conditions to cultivate palm oil. Prior to 1965, Nigeria was the world’s leading producer of palm oil accounting for 43% of the world’s production. Today, however, Nigeria only accounts for 2% of global production and has to import palm oil to meet both its consumer and commercial market demands. The sector is dominated by millions of poor, smallholder farmers who are reliant on the inferior dura variety palm oil, harvested in the wild which typically yields low amounts of palm oil. These farmers lack access to funding, knowledge, and the market services to cultivate the better quality tenera hybrid. As a result of our lack of investment in this sector, we do not make enough oil to meet our domestic needs. The Nigerian Institute for Palm Oil Research (NIFOR) estimates Nigeria’s current production of palm oil at 980,000 tonnes a year while demand is an estimated 2.4 million tonnes, leaving a deficit of 900,000 tonnes worth about $800 million.
Importing this much palm oil is a missed opportunity for Nigeria to improve the livelihoods of smallholder palm oil farmers and boost the country’s revenues.