Friday, 11 June 2010

Article 40 : PALM – FRUITS .




By S. Olanrewaju Disu.

Palm – fruits are usually on sale in most Lagos Area markets all – year round. Though it takes the palm-fruit 3-7 years to mature after planting, its harvesting is continually carried out for 25-30 years! The fruits are formed in a bunch at the top of the oil-palm tree. Ripe bunches of palm-fruits are harvested when the fruits are red or dark-red in color.

The palm fruit is called a “drupe”. A drupe is a one-seeded fruit having a hard bony endocarp, a fleshy mesocarp, and a thin epicarp that is flexible or dry and almost leathery. Palm fruits are processed into palm oil and palm kernels. The oil is obtained from the mesocarp and the kernel from the endocarp. Some inhabitants of Lagos Area use the entire fruit in cooking!

Oil palm, from which we obtain palm-fruits, is botanically called “Elaeis guineensis”, and it belongs to the family called “palmea” – i.e. the palm family. Virtually all the tropical rain-forest belt of southern Nigeria support cultivation of the palm family. Therefore, there are always palm fruits for commercial and lesser-scale domestic uses.

Though there are several ethnic groups living in Lagos Metropolitan Area, people who hail from the eastern parts of the country buy, sell and consume palm-fruits more than any other ethnic groups. Apart from them, industries purchase palm-fruits on a large scale directly from farms and process them, extract oil from them which serves as raw-material in the manufacture of soap, margarine, etc., etc.

Illustrative Photographs:

A--- Palm-fruits on sale at the “Ejigbo Market”.

B--- Palm-oil, which is extracted from palm-fruits, on sale at the “Ejigbo Market”.

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