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Problems And Prospects Of Oil Palm Production In Ndokwa West Local Government Area Of Delta State

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Abstract

This study was carried out to ascertain problems and prospects of oil palm production in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. The population of the study comprised of one hundred (100) oil palm producers in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State while the sample of the study was sixty (60) oil palm producers in Ndokwa West Local Government Area who were drawn through Simple random sampling technique to serve as the representative of the entire population. The instrument used for data collection is a structured questionnaire which was structured by the researcher and validated by two experts in school of vocational education. The validated questionnaires were administered on the 60 respondents by the researcher and 2 research assistance. 50 instruments were retrieved and analyzed using mean statistics. On the basis of the analysis, the study found among others that Palm kernel, palm cake, brooms and baskets are produced using oil palm and making thatches for roofing. Based on the findings, it was recommended that effort should be made by government to invest more on oil palm production to attract more investors, young farmers should be encouraged to key into oil palm production to bring about job creation and self-reliance and there should be easy access to loans with little interest for oil palms producers to increase their production capacity.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

The production of oil palm is as old as the history of the inhabitants of Nigeria. Few wild trees are of much economic and social value to Nigerian farmers and the country as the oil palm tree, (Usoro, 2016). The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) no doubt is believed to have originated in the tropical rain-forest region of West Africa, (Zeven, 2018).

Oil palm is a monocotyledonous tree belonging to the family, palmae and the subfamily, cocoideae. The adult plant possesses an impressive crown of 30 to 45 green leaves, each 5-9m long at the top of a trunk bearing old leaf bases arranged spirally, (Kochar, 2015). The stem may be 30 to 38cm in diameter, with progressive thickening towards the base. On older palms, the stem is punctuated with conspicuous and regularly arranged leaf scars and the stem terminates in a handsome growth of leaves (fronds). The palm leaf is compound and is known as the frond. The leaf is paripinnate with a prominent petiole (0.9 to 1.5m long). The petiole often broadens at the base to form a clasper round the stem. Each palm frond bears, 20 to over 150 pairs of leaflets arranged in more or less two rows along each side of the flattened rachis with the longest pinnate varying up to 120 cm. The pinnae are parallel-veined.

The plant is monoecious with separate male and female flowers (inflorescences) on the same plant. Cross-fertilization is achieved through successive cycles of male and female flower production. It produces bunches of fleshy fruits, the pulp (mesocarp) of which yields a solid, edible, orange-red oil called palm oil. The endosperm or kernel yields a clear, yellowish oil, that is also edible and solid, and is called palm kernel oil. These two products are important in world trade.

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Oil palm adapts well to most textures from medium loams to clays. Extremely coarse or fine textures may not always be suitable, especially if they affect water supply to the roots. The climatic and soil requirements constitute the physical factors that are responsible for the growth of oil palm. They include availability of water supply, soil conditions in terms of fertility and topography that is suitable for the growth of oil palm. It is recommended that rainfall of 1600mm to 5000mm per year evenly distributed will enhance the growth of oil palm, (Usoro, 2016). The oil palm has a wide adaptability range of soils to low pH but sensitive to high pH (above 7.5) and stagnant water. Neutral pH soils are most favoured.

The temperature requirement varies between 180C and 340C. Opeke (2015), observed that oil palm would tolerate even higher temperature provided there is adequate moisture. It requires plenty of sunshine; productivity is reduced in areas with excessive sky overcast. It thrives under conditions of high relative humidity; yields are adversely influenced when the crop is exposed to dry harmattan winds. Oil palm is a lowland crop although it can grow well up to altitude of 900m. It has fibrous root system and benefits from deep soils which are fertile, free from iron deposits and well-drained.  Oil palm is affected by pests and diseases attack. The pests and diseases attack both seedlings in the nursery and mature plants on the field. Some notable pests of oil palm are snails, crickets and mammals especially rodents (rats and mice). Others include leaf-minners, weevils, caterpillars, birds and squirrels. The oil palm diseases include Anthracnose, Freckle, Blast, Ganoderma trunk rot, Vascular wilt disease, Basal rot and crown diseases. These pests and diseases pose serious problems to the production of oil palm. They attack the plants at various stages of growth and development (Uguru, 2016).

Kochlar (2015), postulated that in areas where the palm was already part of the natural vegetation, the factors of greatest importance in the development of a grove was the growth of a dense population. The cutting down of forest areas for annual crop cultivation removed dense shade and created conditions suitable for rapid establishment of the palm.

Due to the economic importance of oil palm as high yielding source of edible and technical oils, the oil palm is now grown as a plantation in most countries with high rainfall (minimum 1600mm/year) in tropical climates within 100 north and south of equator. Raymond (2017), compared the potential oil yield from various crops and placed the oil palm at the head of the list.

The extensive development of oil palm industries in many countries in the tropics has been motivated by its extremely high potential productivity. The oil palm gives the highest yield of oil per unit area compared to any other oil crop and produces two distinct oils – palm oil and palm kernel oil – both of which are important in World Trade (Raymond, 2017). Oil palm seems to be part of the traditional agriculture of Nigeria. The climatic condition and soil type of in some States appear favourable for the growth of oil palm. The production and development is in the hands of small-scale holders. They have all been dependent on rainfed cultivation and a large proportion of the palm produced are on wild groves. Apart from the wild groves, three economically important varieties are grown in the study area. These are the Dura, the Pisifera and the Tenera. The Tenera is a cross between Dura and Pisifera (Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research, NIFOR, 2017).

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Oil palm requires the application of fertilizer particularly nitrogenous fertilizers such as sulphate of ammonia, muriate of potash, etc. for growth of young seedlings. Apart from government established plantations, the deliberate cultivation or establishment by small holders has been little. They have, however, relied on nurturing the wild oil palm groves. Rehabilitation of the wild groves has been difficult. In some parts, much of this economically important tree crop has been neglected, while in some cases the wild groves have been vandalized without rehabilitation.

Oil palm is rich in palm oil, having higher yield of oil than any other seeds. The processing of oil palm fruits for edible oil has been practiced in Africa for thousands of years. The oil produce is highly coloured and flavoured which is an essential ingredient in much of the traditional West African Cuisine, (WAC, 2017). The traditional processing is simple but tedious and inefficient.

Oil Palm Production, the Historical Perspective, Njoku, (2018), reported that oil palm was the most important of the crops. It grows in abundance in the forest belt, but especially profusely in the South-Eastern parts. Most oil palm, he noted, grows on farm lands through human protection. There was hardly any deliberate attempt to cultivate them before 19th century, except perhaps around homesteads. He noted too, that there was hardly any part of oil palm that was not put to domestic use. The production was basically for family consumption and mostly women’s affair.  The industrial revolution in Europe created unprecedented demand for palm oil in the 19th century. It was needed for the manufacture of soap, candle, margarine and tin plate. When Germany discovered that palm kernel could be made into very good feeding cake for cattle, a market was created for it. The industrial revolution changed all this and turned the oil palm from a subsistence crop to a cash crop.

Statement of the Problem

The economic importance of oil palm cannot be over-emphasized. This is because it serves as a means of livelihood for oil palm producers which also helps to create jobs for the citizenry. Oil palm is very important because many products such as palm oil, palm kernel, palm kernel oil, palm kernel cake, palm wine, brooms, baskets are produced using oil palm. Despite its importance, the production of oil palm is faced is with different problems such neglect of the oil palm production, lack of incentive, over-aged oil palm trees, establishment cost, lack of awareness, access to credit facilities, inaccessibility to processing technologies, high cost of transportation. This has affected the production of oil palm in many communities thereby demotivating others from venturing into the business. It is against this backdrop that this study is carried out to investigate the problems and prospects of oil palm production in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State.

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Purpose of the Study

This study is carried out to investigate the problems and prospects of oil palm production in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State. Specifically, the study is aimed at examining:

  1. The Uses of oil palm in Ndokwa West Local Government
  2. The process of oil palm production in Ndokwa West Local Government
  3. The challenges encountered by Oil Palm producers in Ndokwa West Local Government.
  4. The Prospects of oil Palm production in Ndokwa West Local Government.

Research Question

To effectively carry out the study, the following questions were raised:

  1. What are the Uses of oil palm in Ndokwa West Local Government?
  2. What is the process of oil palm production in Ndokwa West Local Government?
  • What are the problems encountered by Oil Palm producers in Ndokwa West Local Government?
  1. What are the Prospects of oil Palm production in Ndokwa West Local Government?

Significance of the Study

The study would be beneficial to the students, the oil palm producers, government, researchers and the field of agricultural education.

The study would be of use to the students because it will help them to know the problems encountered by oil palm producers so that they will be better prepared before investing in the business.

It would also go a long way in helping the oil palm producers to know more about ways through which solutions could be proffered to the problems they may encounter. The findings of the study would be a wakeup call to the government because it will help to bring to their notice the problems faced by oil palm producers and the ways through which those problems could be solved.

Researchers who may wish to carry out a related study would also find this study useful because it would serve as a reference material.

Finally, the study would add to the study literature in the field of agricultural education.

Scope of the Study

This study is delimited to the problems and prospects of oil palm production in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State. With particular emphasis on the uses, process, problems and prospects of oil palm production.


Pages:  55

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF               

Chapters: 1-5                                          

Source: Imsuinfo                                     

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.

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