I have defended my position on palm oil in previous posts by stating that palm oil was a sustainable oil, and backed it up with evidence. However, the article "Argument for palm oil development" written by Fadhil Hasan is interesting in the way that it talks about how palm oil is viewed in Indonesia, and the article itself is written by an Indonesian, thus providing a reliable source of information. In this article, the accusations that environmental groups such as Greenpeace distort the truth about palm oil are made clear. As the article states, "We fully support the rights of individuals and groups to express their views freely and undertake causes to help our planet and its people. But we cannot accept distortions, misrepresentations, and even flat-out lies by environmental groups in the course of their campaigns. We also cannot stand by while starry-eyed international media organizations give carte blanche coverage to environmental groups, accepting everything they say without question." Yet, the most compelling part of this article is that it refutes claims supporting that development of palm oil is responsible for poverty in Indonesia. In fact, there have been millions of Indonesians brought out of poverty from the culture of palm oil. This oil also has other beneficial impacts on society, as it has allowed fro the construction of bridges and roads, and has even brought electricity to some rural areas of the country. Another very interesting feature of this article is that it tackles the issue of deforestation around palm oil. While environmental groups such as Greenpeace proclaim that palm oil is responsible for deforestation, they lack the hard cold facts and numbers to back it up, while this article states that of the 133 million hectares of total forests they have, palm oil represents only 7.5 million hectares.
TO close out this little overview of this article, I would like us to keep in mind the question that Fadhil Hasan poses so well: "Is this about environmental protection or trade protectionism?" (This question refers to the competition between palm oil and other oils such as rapeseed or sunflower oils that I mentioned in my previous post).