Brief Review on the Controversies around Oil Palm (Elaeis Guineensis Jacq.) Production and Palm Oil Consumption

Godswill Ntsomboh Ntsefong, Hermine Ngalle-Bille, Walter Ajambang, Benoit Constant Likeng-Li-Ngue, Tabi-Mbi Kingsley, Joseph Martin Bell, Emmanuel Youmbi


Palm oil from Elaeis guineensis Jacq. of the Arecaceae family is the main traditional cooking oil in most parts of tropical Africa. Oil palm cultivation requires large areas of land and the consumption of crude palm oil from it raises health concerns notably with regards to the incidence of cardiovascular disease and obesity. The industry has therefore been faced with two major controversies. Firstly, palm oil which contains about 50% saturated fatty acids is considered to be unhealthy for human consumption because its saturated fatty acids raise blood LDL cholesterol level and increase the risk of the above mentioned diseases. Secondly, due to its land intensive nature, the oil palm industry is linked to deforestation, climate change and socioeconomic instability. For these reasons, the oil palm industry has been at the forefront of environmental and reputational challenges. This paper briefly presents an overview of these controversies surrounding the oil palm industry, while highlighting the possible outlets for environmentally friendly production processes and improvement strategies for better oil quality.

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