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The crops, which are cultivated so as to have oil from their seeds of fruits, may be termed as oil-crop. The principal oil-crops are coconut palms, groundnuts, linseed, castor, oil palms, sesame, soyabeans, cotton J seeds and sunflower. The vegetable oil extracted from those sources has various uses in the human diet as well as in the manufacture of lubricants, varnishes, soaps glycerine, candles and perfumery.
The culture of these oil-crops is almost wholly concentrated in the tropics.
Coconut palm. The fruits of the coconut-palm tree give oil. The plants grow well in areas of high temperature-about 25°C, high humidity and heavy rainfall of over 200 cm per year. Along seacoasts the coconut palm tress grow well. They are concentrated within 20 degrees on either side of the equator.
The outer fibrous cover of the coconut is removed so as to get the inner kernel or meat, which is dried and then crushed, for vegetable oil. The oil extracted is demanded in the manufacture of soaps and margarine. The fibrous cover is used in the making of ropes cordage and matting.
The Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, the Fiji, the Solomon Islands on the western Pacific, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mozambique and South India are principal centres of commercial production of coconuts.
Production. In the Philippines the production of coconut is concentrated in the eastern and south eastern parts from where large quantities of copra, the dry, 'meat' the coconut oil are exported to the oil crushing centre of Berkeley of California, U.S.A. Manila is the centre of oil crushing industry in the Philippines.
Against the, world total production of 3.5 million metric tons in 1987-88 the Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka produced one million tons, 86 thousand metric tons and 2.2 lake metric tons respectively.
World trade. The total world export of copra and coconut oil amounted to 1 million tons in 1987-88. The Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka were the main exporter supplying 510,000 tons, 110,000 tons and 100,000 tons respectively. Congo and Nigeria have become recently exporters of palm oil. The important buyers of copra are the U.S.A., West Germany, Holland, and the U.K. and their respective shares being 26 p.c., 12 p.c. and 10 p.c.
Oil Palm. The trees require the same rainy tropical climate for their growth like coconut palm. The fruit, which hangs from branches, is small from 1 to 2 inches in diameter, and contains oil. The fruit consists of soft yellow pericarp and a hard kernel. The soft yellow pericarp gives palm oil and the hard kernel, the palm kernel.
Nigeria, Congo, Indonesia, Malaysia, French West Africa and Angola are the major palm oil and palm kernel producing and exporting countries. Most of palm kernels are sent to Europe where oil is extracted and used in the margarine industry.
Groundnut or Peanut. Groundnuts contain about 42 per cent oil. The oil is extracted from the nuts found in the roots of a plant. The plant grows well in the light soils of the tropical or sub-tropical countries with 62 cm. to 100 cm rainfall. The oil is used in cooking, in the manufacture of margarine, medical emulsions, in wool and silk manufacture, artificial leather and in soap manufacture. World production of groundnuts in 1987-88 was about 14.8 million metric tons. India, China (mainland), French West Africa and Nigeria are the principal producers of groundnuts. India produced 6.4 million tons; China produced 2.3 million metric tons, Nigeria and French West Africa 1 million metric tons each. Congo and U.S.A. are the other producers-producing about 100,000 and 890,000 metric tons respectively.
World trade. India and Nigeria are the principal exporters of groundnuts, while U.K., France and Germany (West) are the chief groundnut importing countries, Oil from groundnuts are produced in India, France, China and Germany (West). Oil exporting countries are France, Germany (West) and China (mainland). The countries importing groundnut oil are U.K. and Holland.
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