The African Oil Palm and Chapil: A Comparative Study of Their Uses, Sustainability, and Economic Viability in Ecuador

TitleThe African Oil Palm and Chapil: A Comparative Study of Their Uses, Sustainability, and Economic Viability in Ecuador
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsSimmons, Colin B.
Academic DepartmentBiology
Thesis AdvisorRossignol, Dr. Philippe A.
DegreeBachelors of Arts in International
Number of Pages37
Date Published09/2006
UniversityOregon State University
Thesis TypeUndergraduate
Keywordsbusiness, Ecuador, palm oil, Palm tree

Ecuador possesses a vast number of intriguing palms species; however, in this thesis I plan to focus on just two of these. The first palm is an endemic species, Oenocarpus
bataua, while the second is the well known Elaeis guineensis or African oil palm. The latter is currently cultivated for the oil contained in its fruit. 0. bataua is less known to date, but is capable of producing high quality palm oil as well. The objective was to interview as many knowledgeable people as possible in one month, collect and then use that information augmented with scholarly research to compare and contrast the two palms to gauge the possibility of a company successfully starting a business with 0. bataua in Ecuador.

The results of the study failed to reject the null hypothesis that 0. bataua is unlikely to become a lucrative business of similar size to the African oil palm business in Ecuador, however, it was found that there exists possibilities of creating a business with the palm on small scale levels. After analyzing many aspects of both palms and the economic feasibility of a business in the country it was determined that 0. bataua would not be a highly profitable business to foreign investors. Therefore it is in local and regional projects that this palm has the highest chance providing income to the people of that area. 0. bataua has the potential to yield oil in quantities similar to E. guineensis, meanwhile it also possesses a much lower percentage of saturated fats. These facts could be enough to provide 0. Bataua oil with a foothold in the world market. Additional research on this topic is needed, but chiefly there is the need to organize and implement a project in the country.