better farming series24
FAO Economic and Social Development SeriesNo. 3/24
the oil palm


Published by arrangement with the
Institut africain pour le développement économique et social
B.P. 8008, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

Reprinted 1977, 1983, 1990

ISBN 92-5-100625-3


The titles published in this series are designed as hand-books for intermediate-level agricultural education and training courses. They may be purchased as a set or individually.

  1. The plant: the living plant; the root
  2. The plant: the stem; the buds; the leaves
  3. The plant: the flower
  4. The soil: how the soil is made up
  5. The soil: how to conserve the soil
  6. The soil: how to improve the soil
  7. Crop farming
  8. Animal husbandry: feeding and care of animals
  9. Animal husbandry: animal diseases; how animals reproduce
  10. The farm business survey
  11. Cattle breeding
  12. Sheep and goat breeding
  13. Keeping chickens
  14. Farming with animal power
  15. Cereals
  16. Roots and tubers
  17. Groundnuts
  18. Bananas
  19. Market gardening
  20. Upland rice
  21. Wet paddy or swamp rice
  22. Cocoa
  23. Coffee
  24. The oil palm
  25. The rubber tree
  26. The modern farm business
  27. Freshwater fish farming: how to begin
  28. Water: where water comes from
  29. Better freshwater fish farming: the pond
  30. Better freshwater fish farming: the fish
  31. Biogas: what it is; how it is made; how to use it
  32. Biogas 2: building a better biogas unit
  33. Farming snails 1: learning about snails; building a pen; food and shelter plants
  34. Farming snails 2: choosing snails; care and harvesting; further improvement
  35. Better freshwater fish farming: further improvement
  36. Raising rabbits 1: learning about rabbits; building the pens; choosing rabbits
  37. Raising rabbits 2: feeding rabbits; raising baby rabbits; further improvement
  38. Better freshwater fish farming: raising fish in pens and cages


This manual is a translation and adaptation of “Le palmier à huile,” published by the Agri-Service-Afrique of the Institut africain pour le développement économiaue et social (INADES), and forms part of a series. Grateful acknowledgement is made to the publishers for making available this text, which it is hoped will find widespread use at the intermediate level of agricultural education and training in English-speaking countries.

It should be noted that the original texts were prepared for an African environment and this is naturally reflected in the English version. However, it is expected that many of the manuals of the series — a list of which will be found on the inside front cover — will also be of value for training in many other parts of the world. Adaptations can be made to the text where necessary owing to different climatic and ecological conditions.

Applications for permission to issue this manual in other languages are welcomed. Such applications should be addressed to: Director, Publications Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

The cover illustrations were prepared by Asun Balzola.

Rome 1977

© French edition, Institut africain pour
le développement économique et social (INADES) 1967
© English edition, FAO 1970

Hyperlinks to non-FAO Internet sites do not imply any official endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data or products presented at these locations, or guarantee the validity of the information provided. The sole purpose of links to non-FAO sites is to indicate further information available on related topics.

This electronic document has been scanned using optical character recognition (OCR) software. FAO declines all responsibility for any discrepancies that may exist between the present document and its original printed version.


•   Modern oil palm cultivation

Before starting think things over carefully

Life of the oil palm

The fruits of the oil palm yield oil

Why cultivate oil palms?

Where to cultivate oil palms

•  The oil palm nursery

How to make a nursery

Layout of paths and nursery beds

Putting up shelters

•   The plantation

Preparing the site

Pegging the planting pattern

Planting out the oil palm seedlings

Putting wire netting around seedlings

•   Looking after the plantation

How much fertilizer to apply

Protect against insects

•   Harvesting

•   Suggested question paper