Discuss briefly a named oil crop under the following headings; (a) climatic and soil requirements (b) planting date, seed rate and spacing (c) nursery practices (d) harvesting and storage

The named crop is Oil palm

a) Climatic and soil requirements: oil palm requires a temperature of over 270C, rainfall of 200-250cm and grows well in deep loamy soil rich in humus with pH 4.5-6.
b) Planting date, seed rate and spacing: transplanting to field is done between march-may(i.e during the rainy season). Seed rate is 150seeds per hectare. Spacing (field) = 8m*9m
c) Nursery practices: germinating seeds from pre-nursery are planted in polythene bags at rate of one seedling per bag. Spacing is 60cm*60cm. watery morning and evening, light shade is provided and later removed. Weeding and spraying with appropriate insecticides are done to the field in a year later.
d) Harvesting: oil palm is matured for harvesting between 3-5 years. Matured bunch are harvested when the fruits are red in color. Harvesting is done either by cutlass or harvesting knife.
e) Processing and storage: oil palm can be processed either manually or mechanically.
I. Manual method: when the fruits are cooked, pounded in mortar and the oil is extracted by floatation after mixing properly with water. It is later re-boiled to remove water.
II. Mechanical method: oil extraction is done with machine the boiled food are macerated to separate the oil from the fibre and the kernel. Pressing is done later using hand screw press or hydraulic press. The oil is cleaned by allowing the mixture to settle and then boiled after the sludge and water have been removed. The oil is then reheated to remove any trace of water. The oil is stored in either iron or aluminium containers.

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