Malaysian Palm Oil Industry
ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST PALM OIL EXPORTERS
In 2020, Malaysia accounted for 25.8% and 34.3% of the world’s palm oil production and exports, respectively. Taking into account other oils and fats produced in the country, Malaysia accounted for 9.1% and 19.7% of the world’s total production and exports of oils and fats, in the same year.
The refining of crude palm oil commenced in the early 70s in response to the government’s call for increased industrialisation. The emergence of refineries marked the introduction of a wide range of processed palm oil products.
“As one of the biggest producers and exporters of palm oil and palm oil products, Malaysia has an
important role to play in fulfilling the growing global need for oils and fats sustainably.”
THE PROCESSING OF PALM OIL
A unique feature of the oil palm is that it produces two types of oil – palm oil from the flesh of the fruit, and palm kernel oil from the seed or kernel. For every 10 tonnes of palm oil, about 1 tonne of palm kernel oil is also obtained. Several processing operations are used to produce the finished palm oil that meets the users’ requirements. The first step in processing is at the mill, where the crude palm oil is extracted from the fruit. The various steps of the extraction process are shown in the Flow Chart.
The crude palm oil may be further refined (second stage of processing) to get a wide range of palm products of specific qualities. The partly and wholly-processed grades require little further treatment before use, offering end-user a saving in processing costs. Palm oil may also be fractionated, using simple crystallisation and separation processes to obtain solid (stearin) and liquid (olein) fractions of various melting characteristics. The different properties of the fractions make them suitable for a variety of uses in food and non-food products.
“A unique feature of the oil palm is that it produces two types of oil-palm oil from the flesh of the fruit, and palm kernel oil from the seed or kernel”