Reduce Poverty for Sustainable Palm Oil

Palm oil is a truly beneficial resource, and all of its potential has yet to be seen. But, as with all resources in demand, those who are in need will take advantage of any opportunity to provide resources if it means raising them out of poverty. In light of this, it seems the problem with making palm oil sustainable has its root in improving the livelihood of poor farmers.

Palm oil is cheap to produce, and a crop’s turnaround time is relatively low. Farmers can make a lot of money from growing oil palms, but the easiest way to do it is to eliminate sections of protected land to establish a place to grow it. Indonesians already occupy the land that many progressive nations seek to protect. Therefore, if a company offers to pay a local farmer to cultivate a section of rainforest the farmer is likely to do it. It is self- preservation over environmental preservation. One can’t argue the value of orangutans to a man trying to feed his children.

When more developed countries criticize the practices of palm oil producers, they do fail to recognize the reasons for the practices. This is not blatant disregard for valuable land. It is an all out attempt on a nationwide and local level to raise the wealth and living standard of struggling nations. Palm oil grows best in regions of the world that tend to have the highest poverty levels. We cannot put the blame on this product. If we remove palm oil, opportunists will grow something else. Poverty must be addressed first if there is to be any lasting change with regard to protecting rain forests.

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