What tree does palm oil come from?
Palm oil is a cheap type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Oil palms are originally from Western Africa, but can flourish wherever heat and rainfall are present.
What countries harvest/farm palm oil?
Oil palm trees are originally from West Africa, but were brought to South-East Asia at the beginning of the 20th century. The primary demand for the industry's expansion came from the British Industrial Revolution. At the time, 250,000,000 kilograms of palm oil was being exported annually from South-East Asia. This figure has risen to over 60,000,000,000 kilograms today.
Malaysia was the world's largest producer of palm oil by the mid 20th century and this stayed true until the Indonesian government began investing into the industry in the 1970s. This expansion officially pushed the country into the lead spot for top producer in 2007 and the nation now supplies the majority of the world's growing demand for this cheap edible oil.
Today, palm oil is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, with 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia.