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Palm oil scientifically known as Elaeis guineensis belongs to the family Palmae and sub family Cocoideae and genus Elaeis. Oil Palm is believed to be originated in Africa.
The genus contains two main species: E. guineensis or African oil palm, and E. melanococca or American oil palm.
The oil extracted from the palm’s pulp is called Palm Oil. It is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. Palm Oil is one of the few highly-saturated vegetable oils.
Because of the high saturation point while frying and the lower cost, Palm Oil is widely used in the commercial food industry.
Oil Palm begins to produce the fruit after 30 months, and the fruit gets ready for harvesting in six months. At this stage, the yield is comparatively low. But the yield increases to its best in 18 years.
After 18 years, the yield starts to decrease. The commercial life span of Oil Palm is about 25 years. Eighteen to thirty tons of fresh fruit bunches are produced by a fully matured Oil Palm.
During rainy season, excess water causes the fresh fruit to mature slightly faster than normal. The initial harvest in the rainy season is high and gradually it decreases.
Palm oil production is vital for the economy of Malaysia, which is the world's largest producer of the commodity after Indonesia. China, Pakistan, the European Union, India and the United States are the primary importers of Malaysian palm oil products.
Major producing states of Palm Oil in India are Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Gujarat.
Indonesia and Malaysia are the world's biggest producers and consumers of the commodity. Other major Palm Oil producing countries are Thailand, Colombia, Nigeria, Ecuador, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Ghana and Guatemala.
Indonesia, Malaysia, Benin, Papua New Guinea, Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Ecuador and United Arab Emirates are top Palm Oil exporters.
India, European Union, China, Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, United States, Myanmar, Russia and Vietnam are the major importers of Palm Oil.
Local trading hubs for Palm oil in India are:
Tamil Nadu (Chennai)
West Bengal (Haldia)
Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad, Kakinada, Krishnapatnam)
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