I recently conducted a small experiment to validate the difference between the local oil palm species and the supergene oil palm variety. Although I’ve read a lot about various oil palm species and their distinct characteristics. Before I proceed, let me quickly talk about the oil palm species in Nigeria. We have Psifera, Dura, and Tenera. These species have their unique features. I will talk about their features or characteristics in the next post.
But for the sake of this post, I will briefly talk about the three species; Psifera, Dura, and Tenera. Psifera is a tall species, while Dura is dwarf species. The tenera is the hybrid from the cross between psifera and dura. So, if you will agree with me, the Tenera oil palm species is an hybrid between the psifera and dura. Scientists took the desire and good trait of both species in order to develop Tenera (improved or hybrid).
You will also be surprised that Nigeria have been growing Tenera for over 40 years, with no new variety since then. Even at NIFOR in Benin City, Edo State, they only sell Tenera seedlings or sprouted nuts to any farmer who wants to venture into oil palm plantation.
With my brief explanation, I hope you now understand the difference between the three varieties.
Will you agree with me if I decide to refer Dura and Psifera as LOCAL oil palm species?
Now let’s talk about Super Gene Oil palm Variety. This variety is an exotic species from Malaysia.
NOTE: Malaysia came to Nigeria to take our Tenera species to their country. And they kept on improving it until they got more desirable output or yield, thereby making the Super Gene Oil palm Variety superior over our Tenera species. It is high yielding than tenera, matures within 2 years, very small kernel, and large mesocarp (reddish pulp).
I think I’ve been able to make proper explanation about each oil palm species (Local, Tenera, and Super Gene Oil palm Variety). I will like to take you through a small practical I did recently.
I harvested a bunch of LOCAL oil palm fruits and decided to process it.
My Expectation: I was expecting at least 5 litres of oil palm from a bunch of local species.
After removing the fruits, I gave it to one of our casual workers to help process it manually.
After the whole processing, I got less than 2 litres of palm oil. The area with the green marker (green line) was where the palm oil reached after I poured it inside the 5litres keg. And after distributing to people that helped me during the process, below is what I have left.
Very funny. Do you know why?
It is because of the big kernel.
Can you now see the difference?
Tenera (Nigeria improved variety) is actually an intermediate between both, but have more of Super Gene trait than the LOCAL species, but less productive than supergene. The large kernel size of the local variety was the reason for developing the improved variety (Tenera) more than 40 years ago.