So what's the problem?
Palm oil and palm kernel oil are used in products all around the world. A common cooking ingredient in countries where it is produced, palm oil is used extensively in the commercial food industry elsewhere, from margarine and chocolate to cream cheese and oven chips, as well as in cosmetics and increasingly, for use in bio-diesel. As the highest yielding of all oil crops, it is by far the most widely-produced tropical oil, and constitutes thirty percent of total edible oil production worldwide.
The oil palms comprise two species of the palm family and the African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis, is native to West Africa where the processing of oil palm fruits for edible oil has been practiced for thousands of years. In Ghana, oil palm is a valuable economic crop and provides a major source of employment, allowing many small landholders to participate in the cash economy. The yield of plantations is often compromised however, not only by climatic factors such as erratic rainfall but also by pest outbreaks. The oil palm leaf miner (Coelaenomenodera lameensis) is the most serious pest of oil palm in West Africa. Heavy infestations can cause 90% defoliation which can subsequently lead to a 50% reduction in fruit over the following 3 years.
What is this project doing?
Unilever – a large producer of palm oil in Ghana – contracted the CABI E-UK-Lancaster Environment Centre Alliance to carry out a scoping study at their oil palm plantations in Ghana, with a view to improving the management of leaf miner outbreaks by a) identifying key components of current management practices and capturing local knowledge through field visits and interviews with farmers and managers and b) assessing the potential for alternative practices and their suitability for incorporation into the system as part of a sustainable Integrated Pest Management strategy.
Results so far
CABI undertook the literature review and field trips to Ghana. Here, Unilever showed the scientists around its two oil palm estates, both totalling in the region of 4,000 plus hectares. Private producers with a total of over 4,400 hectares supply additional oil palms to Unilever, these consist of out-grower farms and small holders (usually part of a co-operative) located close to the two central Unilever estates; these were also visited.
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by W Lockeretz
21 March 2011
Paperback / 9781845938765 / £35.00 / $70.00 / €45.00
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Hardback / 9781845936495 / £85.00 / $160.00 / €110.00
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Hardback / 9781845938383 / £208.00 / $395.00 / €270.00
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