The oil palm tree has many usages. It provides benefits from edible oils to biofuels and biochars while also being a food source for livestock. Therefore, almost all the parts of the fruits can be used to produce a useful product. Since the fruits of an oil palm tree can be used for both food and fuel, there is a debate of food vs fuel on whether to use the fruits more as a food source or as fuel.
Palm oil is a rich source of edible oils. Palm oil is a healthy and versatile substitute for traditional oils. The cholesterol-reducing property of palm oil is one of the most important points that make this oil so famous and widely used. Other than that, palm oil contains antioxidants, vitamin E, and carotenoids which help reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases.
Other than being used for edible oil production, oil palm is also a good feedstock for biomass, biogas, and biodiesel production. A large amount of the oil palm fruits go to the production of these fuels. The main parts of the oil palm that are used for fuel production are the oil palm fruits, kernels, and shells. High-quality palm oil can be produced from these parts of the plant.
Since the parts used for both fuel and edible oil production are the same, the food vs fuel debate is present. Therefore, as both industries are equally important for the Malaysian economy, a proper balance should be reached in order to produce enough feedstock for the production for both food and fuel respectively.