Palm Oil Business in Nigeria


Palm Oil Business in Nigeria

Palm oil has become one of the essential commodities in the world today. The demand for palm oil is increasing because it is used in various food applications, from snacks to baked goods to cosmetics. So, it's an excellent business for Nigerians, and this blog post discusses everything there is to know about the palm oil business in Nigeria.

Nigeria has emerged as the largest producer of palm oil in the world. In 2016, Nigeria produced over 4 million tons of palm oil, accounting for almost half of global production. Palm oil prices have increased significantly since 2014 due to rising demand and low supply.

To boost its economy, Nigeria's government has introduced policies to promote local manufacturing. These include tax incentives, subsidies, and training programs. The Nigerian government hopes to increase domestic consumption and reduce reliance on imports by adopting these measures.

Palm Oil Production in Nigeria

Palm oil production has been one of the significant sources of the generation of foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria since the early 1970s. By the end of 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria had become the world's fifth largest palm oil producer.

Nigeria's total palm oil production in 2016 stood at 912,972 tons, representing about 11% of global output. Regarding quantity, Nigeria ranks fourth globally behind Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar. Also, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Nigeria produces almost half of Africa's total palm oil supply.

Palm Oil Importation and Exportation

Palm oil imports into Nigeria averaged around 1.5 million metric tons per year between 2008 and 2011. This figure represents 10-15 percent of the country's annual consumption. However, after 2012, the importation rate dropped sharply to an average of 600,000 tons per year. This drop was mainly attributed to the price of palm oil rising above $1,500 per ton in 2012.

Palm oil became more expensive than crude oil and natural gas. As a result, many importers switched to cheaper alternatives like sunflower and soybean oil.

In addition to importing palm oil, Nigeria also exports large quantities of the commodity. Between 2010 and 2015, Nigeria's palm oil exports averaged around $3 billion per year. Most of this export revenue came from sales to Europe, especially Germany.

In 2016, the total volume of palm oil exported out of Nigeria reached 685,000 tons. This represented a significant decline compared to previous years when the country exported nearly 2 million tons annually.

However, despite the downward trend, the value of palm oil exports remained relatively stable. In 2016, the value of palm oils exported out of Nigeria totaled $2.4 billion.

Palm Oil Processing in Nigeria

Palm oil is one of the most widely consumed vegetable oils around the globe. There are three main types of palm oil – crude palm oil, expeller pressed palm oil, and chemically modified palm oil. However, each type of palm oil has different properties, uses, and applications.

Palm oil processing starts with harvesting palm fruits from the oil palm tree. After being harvested, the palm fruits are cleaned, sorted, graded, and packed. Then, they are transported to a milling plant where you'll remove the seeds, and process the remaining pulp to get palm kernels. Afterward, you'll send these palm kernels to a cracking unit where they are cracked open to obtain palm kernel flour.

The palm kernel flour is then milled to obtain a palm meal. Finally, you can heat the palm meal to dryness to get palm oil. In addition to the above-mentioned processes, palm fruits may also undergo a variety of treatments such as bleaching, deodorization, decolorizing, and others.

Uses of Palm Oil

Palm oil is useful for various things, and we'll look at some of them here:

  • Cooking: Palm oil is one of the main ingredients used in cooking meals. It is used in soups, stews, sauces, etc.

  • Industries: Palm oil has many applications in industry. Some major ones include detergent, lubricant, fuel, paint, and even rubber.

  • Cosmetics: Palm oil helps make cosmetics such as lotions, creams, shampoos, etc.

  • Animal Feed: Palm oil is important in animal feeding because it contains high amounts of protein and fat. 

  • Health: Palm oil contains vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin E plays a vital role in maintaining good health. It protects us against free radicals and keeps our immune system strong.

  • Soap Making: Palm oil makes excellent soap. It is very effective in washing clothes, removes dirt easily, and leaves softness behind.

Palm Oil Production Season

Palm oil production varies across countries and regions. In some parts of Africa, the planting season lasts longer than in other areas. For instance, in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, the planting season begins in April, while in African nations like Ghana and Ivory Coast, it begins in May.

However, in Nigeria, the planting season typically begins in June and ends in September. This is because the rainy season occurs between June and September. Moreover, palm oil trees are known to grow better in wet conditions.

The Nigerian government encourages farmers to start growing palm seeds in April since the rainy season begins. Farmers must wait for three months before they harvest the fruits. They do this so that the roots of plants would be well-established in the soil.

Is the Palm Oil Business in Nigeria Profitable?

Generally, this business is profitable, but several factors could determine its profitability. One of these factors is the cost of producing palm oil. The cost of producing palm oil depends on the location of your farm, the quality of the land, and the size of your plantation. 

If you want to produce palm oil more profitably, you need to invest more money into improving your farm's productivity. You should also ensure that your farm is located near an area with abundant rainfall.

Another factor that determines profitability is the price of palm oil. When the price of palm oil increases, more people will buy it. However, when the price decreases, fewer people will purchase it. Therefore, to maximize profits, you should ensure that your palm oil prices do not fluctuate too much.

How to Start the Palm Oil Business in Nigeria

Before planting palm oil trees, it is important to consider how much capital you will require to make your dream come true. There are several factors that you must take into account. Amongst them are the following:

Capital: This refers to the money used to start a palm oil business, which you'll need to buy the facilities necessary to begin growing. You can use different sources of funding to finance your palm oil business. These include bank loans, personal savings, family members, friends, investors, etc.

Land: You need a piece of land to grow palm oil seeds. This could range from many acres to some hectares.

Equipment: You must buy fertilizer, pesticides, irrigation systems, machinery, etc.

Investment: You need to invest in marketing strategies to ensure that you gain customers.


Palm oil is a versatile product that consumers around the world widely use. You can use it differently depending on what you plan to do with it. We hope this article helps you start a palm oil business. Goodluck!















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