Palm Oil & Biofuels: Fact-checking the European Parliament Report

Ahead of the vote on Palm Oil & Deforestation in the European Parliament on April 4th, The Oil Palm is fact-checking the Environment Committee’s Report.

Here are the Facts.

#6 – Expansion of Oil Palm

Claim

In Recital N, the Report states –

Oil palm cultivation is also taking off in other Asian countries, as well as in Africa and Latin America, where new plantations are constantly being established and existing ones expanded, a state of affairs that will lead to further damage to the environment.

Truth

Farming has lifted billions out of poverty, which is why the United Nations and associated agencies support agriculture, globally. Oil Palm cultivation supports millions of livelihoods across Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia and has done so for decades.  In Africa, small farmers produce around 90 per cent of Palm Oil. In Malaysia, 39 per cent of oil palm is from small farmers.

Further development and cultivation of oil palm will increase food security, improve rural incomes, and benefit the economies of developing countries in Africa and Asia. These benefits for the global poor are real, and tangible.

Is the European Parliament empowered to oppose agriculture development, outside its own domain?  The Parliamentarians should note that Member States support initiatives to plant oil palm in Africa and other parts of the developing world, from the AfD in France to DfID in the U.K.

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#7 – Biofuels

Claim

In Paragraph 82, the Report states –

Calls on the Commission to take measures to phase out the use of vegetable oils that drive deforestation, including palm oil, as a component of biofuels preferably by 2020.

Truth

Oil Palm is by far the most efficient vegetable oil-bearing crop in the world. Biodiesel from Palm Oil is therefore responsible for using far less land, and far fewer fertilizers and other inputs, compared to any other vegetable oil. The use of Palm Oil for biofuels and biomass has been shown by scientists to be highly beneficial for the EU’s renewable strategy.

In addition, the use of Palm Oil Milling Effluent, empty Fresh Fruit Bunches and fronds, have significant benefits as advanced biomass feedstocks for the EU’s pivot towards the next generation of renewable energy.