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African/developing countries under attack by rich countries

Thu, 30 May 2019 Source: Nico van Staalduinen

I am angry, and do you know why?

Because I recently bought some chips, or crisps as some people call them and it had written on it:

This product doesn’t contain: Preservatives, Colorants, Palm Oil

At a first view, and for most people in the developed world nothing special, after all preservatives are not very healthy and neither are colorants.

But what is wrong with the most used oil in the southern hemisphere: PALM OIL?

Very important is that the sale of palm oil is a reliable source of income for many developing countries in Africa and Asia.

Palm oil doesn’t create any health problem, like preservatives and colorants so why mention on food packaging: This product doesn’t contain palm oil?

Palm oil is great for sustainable land use, because the yields of palm oil per hectare are much better than all other oils.

Soybean oil - 500 liter

Olive oil - 450 liter

Sunflower oil - 700 liter

Rape seed oil - 800 liter

Palm oil - 3,800 liter

Just imagine when the whole world would replace sunflower and rape seed oil by palm oil?

we would end up just using 21% of the land now in use for sunflower and rape seed oil all over the world. Imagine the forest we could plant all that land and reintroduce buffalo, wolfs and many other endangered animal species. Large parts of European and the United States would be turned into pristine forests.

The best reasons for the production of palm oil is that we use 10 times less fertilizer and over 3,500 times less pesticides than for rape seed and sunflower oils, the most common used oils in Europe and the United States.

The UK website called “the ethical consumer” stated: vegetable oils like rape seed and sunflower oil use the most pesticides and fertilizers of any crop.

Red palm oil, but also refined palm oil (although lower) has many positive health benefits: positive effects on cholesterol levels and heart, enriches vitamin A, reduces stress and improves skin and hair.

All are positive facts to use and push the use of palm oil all over the world and for everybody who is environment, health and climate conscious.

Now let’s get to the (short sighted) reason behind the text: This product doesn’t contain palm oil, and why I think all palm oil producing countries should stand up against this bad advertising and hurting of developed countries by people and countries who can’t afford the luxury of losing palm oil income.

The reason that health “freaks”, mainly in France and also in other European countries have been and are still pushing for this is the fast loss of natural environment and habitat for Orang-Utan in Indonesia and Malaysia.

I love nature and I am (although not a fanatic like some others) also concerned about nature, the natural forest, Orang-Utan and most of all the way Malaysian and Indonesian farmers are encroaching on the habitat of the Orang-Utan.

To many people the Orang-Utan is just a monkey, but they are together with gorillas, chimpanzees the only species on earth who are DNA wise closer to human beings than they are to each other and we are killing each of them.

It would be a disaster to lose them.

But does that give anybody the right to hurt any human being not involved in destroying nature and natural habitat in the world by declaring:

This product doesn’t contain palm oil?

As I described palm oil is the best oil for the whole environment, and not just the one these environmentalist try to protect.

In fact I don’t even understand why African, South American and Asian palm farm owners don’t bring this people to court for deformation of palm oil?

Nuclear energy is bad as well, would anybody protest if a hospital would write: we don’t use nuclear energy to cure your cancer?

Hard drugs are very bad, but should we stop using morphine (heroine for medical use) as a last resort to help people stopping unbearable pain?

The developed world has, mainly in their own interest, started many campaigns and implemented many sustainable programs and certifications, brands and labels as Max Havelaar, Label Rouge, Back to Nature, TonyChoceloni etc.

Some of these brands are fair trade and fair payment based, other target child labor, most target organic production, free range, animals welfare and many other things.

Some products in Europe even contain a text that this (israeli) products are not produced on the west-bank.

So why hitting on all palm oil producers in the world for a local (Indonesian, Mayalsain) ?

Why do these environmentalists and governments of the developed world not create and name a brand or logo for environmentally friendly produced palm oil. Excluding only palm oil produced in areas where they destroy the environment and thus saving income for all other palm farmers from developing countries?

I have my ideas and suspicions why palm oil is targeted and they have not much to do with the environment but are mostly economical.

Although all the facts from these environmentalists are true and they have a genuine reason to ban palm oil (from palm farms destroying the environment) the proposals to ban palm oil are gladly accepted and implemented by governments in Europe and the United States,

Europe and the United States can’t produce the best oil for the worlds environment because they simply don’t have the climate to do so.

But because their climate is ideal for rape seed and sun flower oil they will not address all the negative production effects of these oils.

Banning a product is easier than competing against it; especially if you can climate-wise not produce it.

Just imagine when the whole world would replace sunflower and rape seed oil by palm oil and we would regain 79% extra land to create extra forests in Europe and the United States? In that forest we could reintroduce buffalo, wolfs, cougar, wild cats, deer, lost bird species and many other endangered animal species. Large parts of European and the United States would be turned into pristine forests isn’t that great for nature and our environment?

Best of all we would still be able to use the same quantity of edible oils, but in this case the much better and healthier Palm Oil and we won’t destroy any environment but rather give back to nature.

Environmentalists would love it, but farmers and governments in the developed world wouldn’t be that enthusiastic?

I think that idea is just as unrealistic and unfair as writing: This product doesn’t contain Palm Oil but we need to address this discriminative texts widdly used and spreading.

I call upon all palm oil producers to do something about this and force any country in the world to remove this horrible text, because it is too general, it hurts the most vulnerable people and economies and it is in my view pure protectionism.

Columnist: Nico van Staalduinen