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Small Scale Vegetable Oil Extraction. Oilseeds are the major source of edible oils. The oil-cake remaining after the greater part of the oil has been extracted is a valuable source of protein for animal feeds. Nutritionally, oils provide the calories, vitamins, and essential fatty acids in the human diet in an easily digested form. Oils are used in cooking to enhance the flavour and texture of food. It has been estimated that while 30% of malnourished children in developing countries suffer from a lack of both energy-producing and protein foods, the other 70% suffer from a lack of calories which could be obtained largely from oils and fats. The per caput consumption of fats in tropical Africa is roughly one-quarter of that in North America. Only a small number of developing countries have surpluses of vegetable oils for export. Malaysia and Indonesia export palm oil, the Philippines export coconut oil, and Brazil and Argentina export soy-bean oil. In most developing countries, vegetable oils are in short supply with the rising demand due largely to population growth. The need to import uses up scarce foreign exchange.
Most developing countries have large-scale oilseed processing facilities which are generally located near large towns. Oilseeds grown in rural areas are normally transported to the urban oil mills for processing, but poorly maintained roads and vehicles make the transporting of oilseeds from rural areas to urban oil mills both difficult and costly. Haulage of cooking oil back to rural areas presents the same problems. The high urban demand for vegetable oil leads to shortages in rural areas. Oil that does reach the rural areas is sold at a much higher price than in the large towns.