Oil Palm is the highest oil producer among perennial oil yielding crops.
Kedah SEDC (KSEDC) has been involved in the Oil Palm business in the Kedah state since 1993. Presently, with 3,000 hectares of oil palm plantation KSEDC strives to excel in the Oil Palm business by venturing into new growth area for oil palm.
Oil Palm has excellent health attributes. It is rich in vitamins A and E and is cholesterol free. Oil Palm has successfully been extracted in formulation of margarine and can also be used in the manufacture of biscuits, ice creams, soaps, shampoos etc. On the other hand, palm kernel oil has a variety of industrial uses.
Soil condition and the warm moist climate of Malaysia are very suitable for oil palm planting. Deep well-drained medium loam soil, rich in humus is the most suitable for oil palm cultivation. Oil palm requires a well distributed rainfall of 2,500 to 4,000 mm per annum and a temperature range of 19-33° C. It is a water-loving crop and it requires adequate irrigation. The crop responds well to drip irrigation and yields are reported to increase by at least 20%.
Oil palm is most suitable being planted in a triangular system with a 9 X 9 X 9 m spacing, accommodating about 145 plants per hectare of land. The beautiful aspect of this commodity is that the planting can be done in any season. However, the best period is June to December. Seedlings of 10-14 months of age are best suited for planting.
Oil palm requires adequate irrigation, as it is a fast growing crop with high productivity and biomass production. For yielding palms of above three years age, a minimum of 150 litres per day is required. In older plants the requirement goes up to 20 litres per day.
Fertilizers are preferably applied in 3-4 split doses during the initial stage of oil palm plantation up to its planted 3rd year, some of the light feeder inter-crops such as cereals, vegetables and grasses can also be grown.
Oil palm starts to bear fruits at the age of three and half years onwards and its economic life varies from 30 to 35 years. The yield of oil palm varies according to age and management. Under average management conditions in a mature plantation (8 to 9 years old), yield of 15-18 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches (FFBs) per hectare is expected. Under good maintenance and management, yield of up to 21-25 metric tonnes of FFBs per hectare is possible.