Balanced approach needed to resolve oil palm issue
FocusM | 14 Sep 2018 00:30
The freeze on expansion of oil palm plantations in the country has caught the industry by surprise.
Although such a ban was not totally unexpected given that Indonesia has imposed such a freeze, it is hoped that local stakeholders such as the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, Malaysian Palm Oil Board, plantation players and refiners are consulted.
When Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok announced the freeze on Sept 4, a reason she cited was to ensure that Malaysia’s forest cover was maintained at over 50%. Oil palm proponents say the moratorium on land expansion has little impact on the environment, especially in terms of preserving wildlife. This is mainly because other idustries such as timber, are more the main cause of deforestation, not oil palm plantations.
Moreover, oil palm plantations are much more efficient than their rivals such as rapeseed, soybean and sunflower oil. Acording to the European Palm Oil Alliance, oil palm plantations produce 3.8 tonnes of palm oil per hectare. In contrast, rapeseed produces 0.8t/ha, sunflower 0.7t/ha and soybean, 0.5t/ha.
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