This includes oil palm planting, nurturing of young trees until they come to full maturity and harvesting of fresh fruit bunches (FFBs). Oil Palm is planted in two stages - the first (nursery stage), which typically lasts for a year, involves artificially germination of oil palm seeds in controlled net houses followed by the open field phase. Oil Palm generally begins to bear fruit 30 months after field planting, with commercial harvest commencing six months later. The typical lifespan of Oil Palm trees is about 25 years.
This includes the crushing and milling of FFBs to obtain Oil Palm products such as Crude Palm Oil (CPO), Palm Kernel Oil (PKO), and Palm Kernel Cake. CPO is obtained from the flesh of the fruit while PKO and Palm Kernel Cake are obtained from the seed or kernel. CPO is largely used for cooking and domestic consumption while PKO is also used for food and in the manufacture of personal and household care products such as soaps. Over 70% of CPO and PKO production is used for food products, followed by the production of surfactants, lubricants, and agrochemicals.
The extracted CPO and PKO are processed further via fractionalization to remove impurities, colours (by bleaching), and odours (by deodorizing). The oil is processed into different grades and output of these processes are palm stearin and palm olein, whose different properties make them suitable for a variety of food and non-food products. The refined products have broadly wider applications than the unrefined CPO and PKO.