Chinese agricultural scientists have created a trial plantation of oil-producing palm trees in the country’s southernmost island province of Hainan.
The Hainan-based Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences said on Friday it has taken two years to grow the exotic tropical plant. So far, it is thriving on a 5-hectare trial plantation area.
Zeng Xianhai, the program’s chief scientist, said China tried to introduce the plant in the 1980s, but failed. The first successful transplantation of oil palm seedlings was made in 2011.
Since 2015, scientists have tried to carry out large-scale transplanting and growing of oil palm trees in fields.
“These two years have proved the seedling can grow well in fields. We plan to expand cultivation to Yunnan and Guangdong provinces,” said Zeng.
Palm oil can be widely used for cooking, making cosmetics and rubber products. China is the world’s third-biggest palm oil market with annual imports of 6 million tonnes. However, palm tree varieties in China cannot be used for producing palm oil.