How To Start A Lucrative Palm Kernel Cake Production Business in Nigeria: The Complete Guide

How To Start Palm Kernel Cake Production in Nigeria or Africa: Guide
How To Start A Lucrative Palm Kernel Cake Production Business in Nigeria or Africa: Complete Guide | Image: Alibaba

Palm kernel cake (PKC), a by-product of the palm oil industry, is available in abundance in many tropical and subtropical nations. It is the palm kernel nut derivative that is produced mainly in the Eastern and Western parts of Nigeria. Other Palm kernel nut by-products include Crude Palm Kernel Oil (CPKO), Palm Kernel Shell (PKS), and Palm Kernel sludge. Palm kernel cake (PKC) is a valuable protein and livestock energy source. It has recently been used as an ingredient in feed for poultry, pig and goat farming.

On a global scale, Indonesia is the largest producer and exporter of palm oil and palm oil by-products. In 2010 alone, Indonesia produced approximately 21.5 million tonnes of palm oil and 2.3 million tonnes of palm kernel oil accounting for 48% of total world production. Malaysia produces 17 million tonnes of palm oil (38%) and 2 million tonnes of palm kernel oil.

The other five leading producers (Nigeria, Thailand, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Ecuador) represent less than 10% of world production.
Meanwhile, Nigeria is Africa’s largest palm oil producer accounting for 65% of West Africa’s GDP. Globally, the country ranks fifth amongst the top palm oil-producing countries in the world with a CAGR of 1.5% and a production rate of 1.03 million metric tonnes of total world output. Despite this, the country’s non-oil exports were 17.7% of total exports in 2018, as agricultural exports accounted for just 1.6% of total exports due to downward movement in production rate.

Nonetheless, according to predictions, palm kernel cake production is expected to speed up later in 2020, and to rise to US$900 by 2026. The large and rapidly growing population continues to be a significant driver of demand. In 2018 alone, approximately 240,000 metric tons of palm oil consumed in Nigeria was used for non-food industrial purposes, while 1.1 million metric tonnes was used for food consumption related purposes.

The market for Palm Kernel Oil/Cake, therefore, is large, expanding and sustainable, and this drives the need for more palm kernel products. Bye-products derived from the processing of oil-bearing seeds form a vital component of animal feeds because they provide the much-needed protein. Besides, palm kernel oil, which is the most valuable palm kernel produced, is used to manufacture cosmetics, confectionery, medicinal, and other industrial applications. The business of palm kernel processing is, therefore, very lucrative and has a lot of potential for exports.

It is fascinating to note that despite the fears of huge startup costs that pose the challenge for investors in most by-product processing businesses, this is a business that you can operate on a small, medium and large scale depending on your financial capability.

This business is for both local and foreign traders. You may start with the small sum of money available to you, or even as an agent/representative, and your investment would have maximised income before long. Suffice to say that if you are looking to start your own palm cake production company, this article will provide you with the guidelines for achieving your target successfully.

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What is Palm Kernel Cake?

The palm kernel cake (PKC) is a by-product of the palm kernel oil extraction, which is high in protein and fats content. It is principally used as one of the main components for feed meal formulation in the ruminant industry. Among other similar fodders, palm kernel cake is ranked a little higher than copra cake and cocoa pod husk, but lower than fish meal and groundnut cake, especially in its protein value.


What is Palm Kernel Cake Production?

Palm kernel cake production refers to the process involved in extracting the palm kernel oil and obtaining the cakes from it. Typically, palm kernel cake is most commonly produced by economic screw press, and less frequently via more expensive solvent extraction mechanism.

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Business Opportunities Associated With Palm Kernel Cake Production Around the World

1). Palm Kernel Meal Production:

This is the major by-product of the production of palm kernel oil. This is an extremely fibrous and medium-grade protein feed, and thus more suitable for feeding ruminants or rabbits. The Palm kernel resulting from mechanical extraction contains 5-12 per cent oil and 0.5-3 per cent oil from solvent derived palm kernel meal. Most of the development of palm kernel meals goes to feeding the animals.

2). Fruit Bunches Production:

These constitute 50% of fresh fruit bunches, 60% water and a dense substance used as a mulch in plantations and orchards of oil palms.

3). Nutshells Production:

These are the less bulky leftovers from the fruit bunch but much more difficult to decompose. They are useful as mulch in oil palm plantations and can be burned as fuel.

4). Palm Press Fibre:

These are the oily and fibre-rich by-product of palm oil extraction. The palm fibre is usually mixed with empty fruit bunches and nutshells or burned to produce steam to generate electricity at the mill plant.

5). Palm Oil Mill Effluent:

This is the liquid left from extracting palm oil and purifying it. It includes fragments of the soil, dissolved oils and solids which are suspended. It can be handled further by decanting (sludge, slurry), washing, centrifugation and drying.

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Facts and Benefits of Palm Kernel Cake Production

  • Palm kernel cake (PKC) is an essential by-product obtained from palm oil extraction.
  • Palm kernel cake is known to contain high levels of phenolic compounds that may impede the harmful effects of fungal mycotoxins.
  • Palm kernel cake roughly contains 16.0% crude protein, 15.7% crude fibre, 0.59% lysine, 0.30% methionine, 0.20% cystine and metabolizable energy 6.2 ml/kg (1 480 kcal/kg) with regards to dry matter.
  • The digestibility of dry matter, crude fibre and crude protein present in a meal of cake are 35.2%, 58% and 25.4% respectively, while the presence of amino acids is 64.4%.
  • Palm kernel cake could be included in high levels to broiler diet to provide the balance ratio to the dietary energy needed.
  • Palm kernel cake is also beneficial in dairy cattle, swine and other non-ruminant breeds.
  • The shell content and dirt in palm kernel cake formulation for poultry shouldn’t exceed 7%.
  • The chemical compositions of palm kernel cake differ based on fruit palms.
  • Palm Kernel cake consists of alkaline and acetic nutrients, which aid digestion.
  • Palm Kernel can be used for fattening because it is rich in vitamins, minerals and protein.
  • Malaysia and Indonesia lead the world in the production of palm by-products.
  • Too much moisture content in palm kernel cake could cause it to grow moulds.
  • Crude fibre, a major content of palm kernel cake, contains cellulose.
  • Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria are among the highest producers of palm kernel products.
  • Palm kernel cake can be mixed with other diary products to enhance livestock feeds.
  • The oil extraction technique used also affects the level of dry matter in palm kernel cake.
  • In Nigeria, Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River and Delta states are top of oil palm kernel production.

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How To Start Palm Kernel Cake Production In Nigeria: Step-by-Step Guide

The process involved in the extraction of palm kernel cake from the palm kernel nut involves a series of industrialized steps which are listed as follows;

1). Palm Kernel Nut Crushing:

This is the first step in the processes. You can manually break the nuts with your hands or make use of a machine for squashing the dried palm piece.

2). Roasting The Palm Kernel Nut:

The next step is roasting the nuts using local firewood method or a roasting machine. The procedure introduces heat to the pounded nuts, subsequently extracting the oil from the kernels.

3). Oil Expulsion:

The broiled palm kernel is then subjected to an oil press that packs the heated palm kernel nuts and removes the oily substance of the palm nut by an oil chamber means, while the palm kernel cake is gathered through the cake leave chamber.

4). Collection of Extracted Oil:

The oil extracted is then collected and bolstered into a capacity tank for additional refining, leaving out the proceeds of the extract.

5). Sieving:

After separating the oil from the palm nut, you use a sieve known as a screen, which helps to separate the leftover crushed shells.

6). Treatment:

Combination treatment is thereafter applied to the leftover matter to obtain a more efficient PKC material followed by sugar content analysis. This is to determine what particle size has the right sugar content and what needs to be further broken down.

7). Grinding Treatment:

The grinding treatment is done further to break down the particle sizes to the right proportion. Following this is the hot water extraction to extract the palm kernel cake particles further and thereafter incubate the substance to the right temperature. Finally, add the acetic acid to treat it and then extract.


Challenges of Palm Kernel Cake Production in Nigeria

  • Lack of mechanised farming equipment.
  • Poor loan structure in the country.
  • Underdevelopment and poor fiscal policy measures.
  • Lack of high yield seedlings.
  • The high startup cost.
  • Storage problems.
  • Lack of access to the International market by small scale farmers.
  • Marketing problems
  • Lack of experience.
  • Poor management skills among local investors in palm kernel cake.

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To Sum It Up

Palm kernel cake is an essential derivative of palm kernel nut, a high source of energy and a cost-effective feed ingredient to be utilised in ration formulations for various livestock. There is, therefore, the scope for a thorough review of the entire value chain of palm oil processing to guarantee the survival of local manufacturers as well as fortify sales to the international market in producing compound feeds for ruminant and non-ruminant animals alike.

The palm kernel cake production business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a supply chain business to venture into, the palm kernel business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.


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What are your thoughts on how to start a palm kernel cake business in Nigeria? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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    • Hi Akindeji,

      I’d advice you partner with a palm kernel nuts supplier to provide you with the nuts while you process the goods to oils and split the profits

  1. Good day Team.
    Your write-up on palm kernel production was so captivating and educative .
    Thanks so much for your support in this regards.
    Please how can I secure the machines for the production (all Pam Kernel value chain)and the business plan.

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