The Oil Palm

Punching above its weight, part 2: Malaysia maintains globally important ‘Primary’ forests

Best available data indicates that Malaysia maintains vast forested areas. Recently activists have claimed that much of this forest has been degraded, and accused Malaysian industry and government of mismanaging forest resources.

One recent study claims that little of the forests in the Malaysian States of Sarawak and Sabah remain in a pristine condition. According to the authors, Malaysian forests have been degraded due to repeated logging or clearance over 20 years. The claim is based on spatial analysis of road building in close proximity to forest reserves, rather than detailed examination and monitoring of forest areas themselves.

There is little basis for the claim made by ‘activist-academics’. According to the United Nations agency tasked with assessing global forest resources – the FAO – approximately 20% of Malaysia’s vast forest resources are classified as “primary” forest, defined as “naturally regenerated forest of native species, where there are no clearly visible indications of human activities and the ecological processes are not significantly disturbed”. [1]

This is a globally significant area of primary forest. Malaysia is amongst the top 25 countries with the largest areas of primary forests. Most of these ‘top 25’ are significantly larger than Malaysia in terms of total land area. [2] This represents a considerable achievement for Malaysian forest management and conservation efforts.

In reality, Malaysia maintains vast forest resources, including primary forest areas and protected areas of virgin forest. Most European countries on the other hand, possess very little, if any remaining primary forests. [3]  Data shows that the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain have no recorded primary forests. [4]

Nonetheless, European activists continue to attack Malaysia, despite the country’s efforts to maintain a primary forest area approximately the same size as Switzerland.

In Sabah for example, almost 900 000 hectares of primary forests have been protected (including mangroves, virgin jungles and wildlife reserves) – equating to around 25 percent of the State’s total forest area. [5]

Table 1 Forest characteristics of countries closest to Malaysia in terms of total land area   [6]


Table 1 shows that Malaysia maintains considerably more primary forests than both wealthy and developing countries of a similar in size.

Activists in developed countries are clearly disconnected from the development aspirations of Malaysian citizens, who require some exploitation of natural resources in order to achieve comparable standards of living. Land clearing, for example, is required in some instances to open forested land for productive land uses such as agriculture. These industries provide food, jobs and livelihood.

At the same time, forest degradation has been associated with traditional farming techniques, such as swidden agriculture used in South East Asia for centuries, where farmers cleared land for short crop rotations, only to let it revert to secondary forest once left fallow.

These economic and cultural factors are frequently ignored by environmentalists when addressing drivers of deforestation and degradation. The campaign reached fever pitch when a recent ‘study’ compared forest inventories in Sabah and Sarawak, with neighbouring Brunei – a tiny state with high living standards on account of extensive petroleum and natural gas fields.

The authors argued that by excluding industrial logging from its borders, Brunei had succeeded in protecting its forests. This is a problematic comparison due to a range of factors, such as differences in size, population distribution, and mineral & oil deposits. Such comparisons are grossly misleading, and fail to take into account the complexities of both economic development, and of deforestation.

These campaign activities clearly highlight the agenda of radical environmentalists – absolute cessation of forest extraction, regardless of the needs of local populations. Despite maintaining a globally significant area of primary forests – far more than most European countries – Western campaigners insist on holding Malaysia to a higher standard. Malaysia may have achieved considerable successes in the pursuit of sustainable development, but aspirations and national development are threatened by current campaigning by environmental groups.

Malaysia is acting fully in accord with the principles of sustainable development which were re-endorsed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro last year. There, calls by environmental activists to create a low-growth ‘eco-economy’, were firmly rejected.

1. Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Global Forest Resources Assessments (2010)

2. Malaysia is ranked 67th largest country globally

3. With the notable exceptions of Russia and Sweden

4. FAO, op.cit

5. Su Mei Toh, Kevin T. Grace, Understanding Forest Tenure in South and South East Asia – Case study: Sabah Forest Ownership, Prepared for the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)

6. FAO, op.cit

The Oil Palm

European Parliament Report Risks Tarnishing Relations with ASEAN

The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has published a new report on EU-ASEAN relations. The report is supposed to be a tool for encouraging closer cooperation between Malaysia and the EU. In reality, this is a political tool for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to make poltiically-motivated statements about their feelings towards ASEAN countries, including Malaysia. As a result, the report contains major inaccuracies and untruths, and seeks to intervene in the domestic laws of ASEAN nations, where the EU has no power to intervene.

The report fails to recognise the well-known conservation efforts of countries like Malaysia, which still has over 60% of land under forest cover. Instead of praising the efforts of ASEAN countries, the report claims there is ‘widespread illegal logging’ and links this to forest fires and smog. This is not accurate and is out of place – it would have been more appropriate to recognize the commitment and actions that has been taken to tackle illegal logging where it has been an issue. Malaysia has cooperated with international partners to achieve excellent progress in this area and has made a commitment at the UNFCCC to preserve 50% of its land under forest cover in perpetuity. The aggressive statements in the European Parliament report do not recognise or support this important work.

A section of the report also specifically targets development of oil palm and rubber plantations, claiming there is a need to increase local law enforcement capacities to provide safeguards against expropriation of land. The implication that land is being illegally expropriated for production of rubber and palm oil in Malaysia has no basis. Land set aside for agricultural expansion is managed and developed in full compliance with domestic laws and regulations. Malaysia has no established problem of expropriation and to imply there are deficiencies in law enforcement in Malaysia compared to the EU, is prejudiced and fails to acknowledge the work of law enforcement agencies on the ground. The EU should not interfere in law enforcement in other countries. Malaysia is currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, and such language from the European Parliament does not help this process move forward.

As the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee prepares to discuss the report, it should approach this exercise as an opportunity to strengthen EU-ASEAN relations and cooperation. ASEAN countries should not be falsely accused of such things, particularly when the evidence on the ground in countries like Malaysia paints a much different picture. If the EU is serious about closer relations with ASEAN countries, surely mutual respect is the place to start. This report falls a long way short of that standard, and we in Malaysia deserve better.

The Oil Palm

Punching above its weight, part 1: Malaysia maintains vast forest resources

Malaysia, although relatively small in size, is endowed with some of the largest tropical forested areas in the world – according to the best available scientific data, including satellite imagery and international monitoring programs. Nonetheless, Western activists have attempted to deny this fact, as part of a campaign to oppose productive Malaysian industries.

The campaign is an attempt to stymie Malaysian development by limiting Malaysian extractive and agricultural industries. It lacks scientific basis and fails to consider the social and economic needs of Malaysian communities. In contrast to the Western development model – where forests were cleared during industrialisation without regard for conservation – Malaysia is following a sustainable development path. Agricultural expansion is limited to designated areas, and biodiversity is supported by vast forest reserves and strict forest protection in areas identified as particularly important for achieving targeted conservation outputs.

The United Nations agency responsible for monitoring global forest resources – the FAO – recorded Malaysia’s total forest area at over 20 million hectares in the latest Global Forest Resource Assessment (2010). [1] This equates to 62% of Malaysia’s total land area. This is ignored in anti-forestry rhetoric. The FAO’s Global Forest Resource Assessment is generally accepted as the best available global forest inventory.

Almost 20% of Malaysian forests – equalling an area roughly the size of Switzerland – are classified as primary forest. [2] These forests are the most biodiverse and carbon-dense form of forest, providing a range of environmental services.

Other datasets corroborates that Malaysia maintains vast forest reserves. Peer reviewed studies of Malaysian forests using satellite imagery shows over 70% of Malaysia was covered by forests during 2000-2005. [3] This is supported by satellite imagery collected and analysed by NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory. It shows that over 25 million hectares – or around three quarters of Malaysia – is covered by a significant forest canopy. [4]

Those familiar with Malaysia can attest to the rich forest landscapes, and the environmental benefits they provide. These forest landscapes include a flora, estimated to contain about 15,000 species of higher plants, with diversity of vertebrates including about 300 species of wild mammals, 700 to 750 birds, 350 reptiles, 165 amphibians and more than 300 freshwater fish species. [5] Many of these exist only in Malaysia (i.e. endemic).

Malaysia has protected significant forest areas to safeguard this vast biodiversity. It has designated more than 5 million hectares of forests – over 15% of its total land area – as formally protected areas.

In doing so, this exceeds protected area requirements for conserving national biodiversity as specified under the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). [6]

Forested lands which do not fall under formally protected areas are managed sustainably by state forestry authorities, using Sustainable Forest Management Practices such as ‘selective harvesting’, which ensure that only certain species are harvested while maintaining the forest characteristics in the surrounding area.

The environmental campaign against Malaysian land-use not only conflicts with the best available data – it is also callous, demanding Malaysia forego the economic benefits secured by Western nations through utilising forest land for development.

Despite the campaign, Malaysia has embraced the challenge, acknowledging that national development cannot follow precisely the same model enjoyed by western countries during their rapid industrial revolutions. In contrast to Western countries, who developed on the back of extractive industries for raw materials such as natural forests, Malaysia’s land use planning demonstrates strong commitment to sustainable development and maintenance of its forests & associated environmental benefits.

1. Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Global Forest Resources Assessments (2010)
2. ibid
3. Namita Giree, Stephen V. Stehman, Peter Potapov and Matthew C. Hansen, ‘A Sample-Based Forest Monitoring Strategy Using Landsat, AVHRR and MODIS Data to Estimate Gross Forest Cover Loss in Malaysia between 1990 and 2005’, Remote Sensing (2013), 5, 1842-1855.
4. Sassan S. Saatchia, Nancy L. Harris, Sandra Brown, Michael Lefsky, Edward T. A. Mitchard, William Salas, Brian R. Zutta, Wolfgang Buermann, Simon L. Lewis, Stephen Hagen, Silvia Petrova, Lee White, Miles Silman, and Alexandra Morel, ‘Benchmark map of forest carbon stocks in tropical regions across three continents’, Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2011), vol. 108 no. 24
5. ‘Malaysia – Country Profile’, Convention on Biological Diversity, accessed at:
6. ibid

The Oil Palm

ILUC – An Unscientific Policy That Will Hurt EU-Malaysia Bilateral Relations

In Europe, the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) has been  taken over by powerful protectionist agriculture interests in some European countries and has now become a  trade-protection tool that is designed to protect domestic oilseeds, and to discriminate against cheaper, and superior, non-European biofuels, such as those made from palm oil. It is no longer an environmental or energy policy instead it  is a trade-barrier policy.

On Tuesday 10th September, the European Parliament will vote on the latest revision of this trade-barrier policy. Mrs Corinne Lepage, a Member of the European Parliament from France, is leading a campaign to introduce ‘Indirect Land-Use Change’ (ILUC) criteria into the EU Directive. ILUC is an environmentalist theory that cropland producing biofuels in one place, can somehow lead to greenhouse gas emissions being emitted in another, undefined and unknown, place. This theory has been criticised by scientists and academics from across the world – America, Asia, Latin America, and Europe itself. ILUC is a theory that you cannot see or measure or calculate, and therefore is impossible to quantify.

Yes, it is impossible. But the EU authorities have tried to do it, anyway. Several studies by the EU Commission attempted to find a way of calculating how different types of biofuel might have different ILUC effects. The results were embarrassing for the EU, and very revealing for everyone else. Every study came up with a  totally different figure – many were wildly different, and some even could not agree whether a crop would produce a net positive or negative outcome. This showed, better than anything, that ILUC cannot be measured accurately.

Scientists know that anything that cannot be seen or measured, like ILUC, relys on modeling. This modeling, done by sophisticated computer programmes, in turn relies on the people who set the parameters for those computer models. These people all have prejudices, and those prejudices then majorly impact the results of the modeling. This is neither a fair nor an independent method of scientific calculation, and should not be used for policymaking.

MEP Corinne Lepage wants to introduce these ILUC factors, in order to discriminate against palm oil – because it is better, and better priced, than the European competitors. Mrs Lepage knows that the ILUC models will be led to discriminate in this way, and that Malaysian palm oil will be unjustly treated. It is no wonder, with these attitudes, and with such a poor approach to legislation, that many countries are discussing how to challenge the EU’s energy policies under the rules of the World Trade Organisation. In fact, Argentina has already filed a complaint against the EU in Geneva.  The EU likes to preach about free trade, but MEP Lepage does not want to practice it.

The vote in the European Parliament is expected to be close. On one side, Green NGOs, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. They are supporting Mrs Lepage, and the call for an unscientific and discriminatory ILUC factor. On the other side, are the biofuels producers and the scientific community – in the last few months alone, studies have emerged from the USA, from France, from Germany and Sweden and Denmark and Brussels itself, all of them explaining that ILUC is not legitimate and should not be allowed.

NGOs vs scientists. It is not the first time that palm oil has been in this position: the negative campaigning in Europe against palm oil is not new. This time, the choice is clear – the MEPs in the European Parliament can vote for an ILUC policy that is untested, inaccurate, unscientific, and will probably lead to them losing a case in the World Trade Organisation. Or, they can vote against ILUC, and welcome in palm biodiesel and other fuels, that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fight climate change, improve land-use efficiency, and reduce the use of fossil fuels in Europe.

Palm oil as a biofuel can be a big part of the solution in Europe, just as it is here in Malaysia. But it requires European politicians to see past short-term protectionism and glitzy NGO campaigns: they need to vote down ILUC, and instead build a true renewable energy policy that is sound, scientific and sensible and that will bring long-term benefits.

The Oil Palm

Belgium’s RTL Ignored The Facts On Palm Oil, Sacrificing Journalistic Integrity In The Process

Belgian TV station RTL’s programme on palm oil offered a good case study in scare-mongering and poor journalism. It was also testament to palm oil’s on-going struggle to get a fair hearing based on scientific facts and verifiable evidence.

Guest speakers on the programme included a representative of Greenpeace – an organisation that publicly opposes oil palm development – and a ‘nutrition specialist’, who had previously spoken out against the health attributes of palm oil. No academic expert on oils and fats, food technology specialist, industry representative or member of an independent environmental body, was invited to partake in the discussion.

This is unfortunate, as several erroneous allegations and misinformed comments were made about the health profile of palm oil and the environmental track-record of oil palm development.

Concerning health, erroneous allegations were made about the danger posed by palm oil because of its saturated fat content. Contrary to what was claimed, scientists have shown that there is no significant evidence linking the consumption of saturated fats to cardiovascular diseases. In addition, important information was omitted. Firstly, there was no mention of the fact that palm oil has been used to replace dangerous trans fats in consumer products. Trans fats have been shown to pose a danger to human health, as pointed out by the Institut de Cancereologie Gustave Roussy and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, who have linked trans fat consumption to breast cancer.

Secondly, when decrying the consumption of saturated fats, it was not mentioned that palm oil only accounts for a small proportion of the update in saturated fats in the diet of Belgian consumers.

Palm oil was also accused of being responsible for widespread deforestation. However, the reality is that the oil palm is the most land efficient of all oil crops. Its superior productivity – between 7 to 10 times greater than its competitors – means that less land is needed to produce the same amount of oil. Had a representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) been invited, they would have confirmed that based on their latest report, 60% of Malaysia’s land area remains under forest cover. By comparison, only 22% of Belgium’s land area is under forest cover. Malaysia’s commitment to preserving 50% of its land under forest cover in perpetuity, as well as ongoing efforts towards promoting conservation and safeguarding wildlife species – including the Orangutan – were also neglected.

This missed opportunity to present the evidence and facts in the debate on palm oil should be lamented; particularly by RTL’s Belgian audience, who deserve more informed reporting and a rigorous fact-based analysis on palm oil.

In its programme, RTL flouted all basic principles of journalism – including impartiality and an obligation to seek the truth. It did its viewers a disservice by using prejudices and demagoguery – contrived by opponents of palm oil – to build further doubt and confusion among consumers, aimed at spreading more fear through incomplete information on palm oil.

The need to address these untruths is not merely an academic exercise. Over 300,000 Malaysian small farmers depend on oil palm for their livelihoods, and programmes that spread misinformation on this product undermine their means of subsistence. Should RTL want to address the numerous shortfalls and lacuna of its previous programme on palm oil, it could begin by interviewing any informed scientist and academic working on palm oil, or alternatively, learning about the Human Faces of Palm Oil who earn a living thanks oil palm cultivation, and sharing their story.

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The Oil Palm

Vegetable Pot Pie

This week’s recipe mixes sweet and savory. Using your favorite pie crust recipe, this hearty meal is sure to satisfy everyone. 


1 pie crust
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon palm oil
1 cup leeks, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 cups asparagus, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup carrots, small dice
1 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon sage, finely chopped
1 tablespoon habanero sauce
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups of your favorite meat or protein


Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare pie crust as directed, and freeze bottom shell in pie plate.

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, melt butter and palm oil. Add leeks, garlic, habenero peppers and herbs. Sauté until tender.

Add flour and brown to a light roux. Add broth, milk, asparagus, carrots, peas and protein of choice. Cook for 3-5 more minutes on low flame.

Add mixture to frozen pie shell, top with pie shell.

Bake for 35 minutes, remove from oven and allow to set for several minutes before serving.

The Oil Palm

French Prime Minister: ‘France is not hostile to palm oil’

Less than a year after the defeat of the Nutella tax, the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault reassured the Malaysian people that his government would reject all future attempts to introduce a tax on palm oil. PM Ayrault was speaking in occasion of a joint press conference held with Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur.

‘France is not hostile to palm oil. I wish to stress this as forcefully as possible’, said PM Ayrault. ‘This is a topic on which there has been considerable misunderstanding’ he added, ‘palm oil will not be treated differently from other vegetable oils and there will be no discrimination on palm oil’.

PM Ayrault’s resolve to stand up against discrimination and new taxes faced by Malaysian palm oil in France will soon be tested. Socialist Senator Yves Daudigny is currently working on a project to introduce ‘behavioural taxes’, which in part will target palm oil.  He is due to present his proposal in Autumn 2013. PM Ayrault’s government must stay true to its words and remain steadfast in its commitment to ensure that this key Malysian product is treated the same as other vegetable oils produced in France.

PM Ayrault’s comments were made in response to an open letter addressed to him by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) and the National Association of Smallholders, Malaysia (NASH). In their letter, NASH and MPOC urged PM Ayrault to put an end to the actions of a number of French companies, which were having a damaging impact on the palm oil industry and communities in Malaysia.

Unfortunately, MP Ayrault stopped short of acknowledging MPOC’s and NASH’s legitimate request to utilize his government’s existing authority to end the unfounded attacks against palm oil by French companies. French companies continue to use of labels that denigrate palm oil as a product, despite being in contravention of French laws and regulations.

In the spirit of a stronger and more involved partnership between these two great nations, the commitment by PM Ayrault to see that Malaysian Palm Oil is treated fairly and justly in France is a step in the right direction, but only time will tell.

The Oil Palm

Malaysian Curry Puffs

Last week during their travels in Malaysia the French competition winners enjoyed Curry puffs cooked in palm oil. This week we are featuring that recipe. You can follow the adventures of the competition winners at Bon appétit! 

curry -


Curry Filling
60 ml palm oil

1 medium onion cut in two finely diced

2 tsp of any appropriate masala (kurma powder or Vindaloo Masala)

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp turmeric powder ( the amount here has to do with color not flavor, which varies by region)

2 cups , shredded cooked chicken

2 large potatoes boiled and cubed

Outer layer
3¼ cup flour

3½ Tbsp margarine

1/3 tsp salt

½ egg

¾ cup water

Inner Layer
1 cup flour

4¼ palm oil shortening


Curry Filling
Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt, soda and mix well

Add a bit of the butter to the flour mix and rub in well. Continue until all the butter is mixed in.

Add the egg and then add the water gradually, mixing as you go. Knead the dough until quite smooth

Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes covered at room temperature

In a wok mix the filling ingredients and gently heat on medium heat. Add a little water and gently turn the mixture so that it may cook evenly. Check the consistency of the potato.

When it’s just soft enough and it is almost dry turn off the heat. If the potato still needs further cooking but the mixture is becoming dry then add a little more water and carefully mix the contents to prevent burning of any bottom material. Repeat the checking of the potato and proceed to almost dryness

After it rests, roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut into rounds, roll the rounds flat

To each round, spoon 1 Tbsp of filling at one end of the round, leaving about 1.5 cm for the seal

Fold the rounds into half-moons and seal the inner edges by dampening the inner edge with water or egg mix, press the edges together to seal

Heat palm oil in a wok deep enough to cover the depth of the curry puff, to a temp of 175C (350F)

Cook each puff until golden brown, turning frequently to even the temperature on both sides and the center of each piece

Remove the cooked puff and drain on kitchen paper

The puffs can be kept hot in an oven at 120C (250F)

For Wrapping

Outer layer
Boil margarine, water and salt

Pour into the flour

Add in egg

Knead well

Let dough rest for a while

Divide into 8 portions

Inner layer
Mix flour and shortening together

Knead well and divide into 8 portions

Wrap inner layer with outer layer

Flatten it and then roll it up like a swiss roll

Repeat twice and then divide into 2 portions

With cut side on the table, roll dough into a circle and fill with a spoonful of curry filling

Wet the outer rim of circle and fold into half, seal the edges

Puffs can be left to freeze and packed in ziploc bag when frozen Store frozen until needed
To fry frozen curry puffs, start them in cold palm oil

Remove several ladles of hot palm oil as the puffs are slightly brown, turn heat on to the highest and fry puffs until brown

To fry the second batch, add in the slightly cool oil and put in the frozen puffs, frying the same way as described above

Put fried puffs in 120oC (250oF) oven to keep warm.

The Oil Palm

The Brussels Biofuels Debate, Part IV: World Bank Weighs In On Food vs. Fuel

Stockpiles of palm oil have experienced the largest increase since 1999, rising more than 21 per cent to 9.5 million tonnes. In the past year, palm oil prices have fallen some 20 per cent, and some analysts have forecast that palm prices could drop even further later in the year.

But in Brussels, activists are making apocalyptic declarations of runaway commodity prices even pointing the finger at the palm oil industry. With a heated debate in the European Parliament over “indirect land use change” (ILUC) (a policy concept that relies on willful ignorance of scientific facts), palm oil has been targeted by anti-biofuel voices both within the EU’s political leadership, and from external voices such as environmental NGOs. At present, Members of the European Parliament are considering a plan that would arbitrarily restrict food-based biofuel sources to less than half of the 10 per cent EU-wide energy mandate for biofuels.

But if the purpose is to pre-empt increases in food prices, European policymakers are likely to do more harm than good. According to a new report, [“Long-Term Drivers of Food Prices”], authors and economists John Baffes and Allen Dennis of the World Bank’s Development Prospects Group and Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, crude oil prices are the primary contributor to recent food price spikes experienced in 2007/2008 and most recently in 2011.

In fact, misguided efforts on the part of policymakers such as MEP Corinne Lepage, and environmental activist organisations risk increasing the likelihood of additional crises in the future as development is curtailed and producers are unable to increase supply. Indeed, some of the leading proponents of ILUC have taken to decrying any agriculture (particularly palm oil) development in Africa, a continent that is desperate for development and agricultural growth.

And there is no small amount of irony that the very goal of biofuel mandates, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and diversifying energy resources, should in fact offer a solution to food price volatility.

If leaders and policy experts should take anything away from the World Bank report, it is that it is imperative that there be sufficient supply of agriculture commodities to restrict dangerous fluctuations in food prices – whether they strike in South East Asia, Europe, or Africa. Today, palm oil supplies are stable in Malaysia, but who knows the dangerous impact the EU’s meddling may have on long-term palm oil stocks. MEP Lepage should think again, and base her actions of factual and proven research, rather than on the siren voices of European activist groups.

The Oil Palm

Shrimp and Black-Eyed Peas

This week, our recipe is going seaside. This filling dish blends the unique flavor of palm oil with black-eyed peas that create a tasty compliment for the shrimp in the dish. You can serve over rice or with vegetables to complete your meal.


1 and ½ cups dried black-eyed peas

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

¾ cup palm oil

½ cup finely minced onion

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

¾ cup raw shrimp, cut into ½ inch cubes

¼ cup fresh tomato sauce, or canned tomato sauce

2 teaspoons finely chopped hot red pepper, or to taste (optional)

2 and ½ tbsp shrimp powder


lace the peas in a mixing bowl and add cold water to reach one inch over the top of peas. Let stand overnight. Drain the peas and add more cold water to cover. Add salt and pepper and simmer until the peas are tender, 45 minutes to an hour. They should be moist but not too liquid.

While the Peas cook, heat the oil in a skillet and add the Onion and garlic. Cook briefly, stirring, until the onion is translucent.

Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, ten minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook, stirring, about 10 more minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Add the sauce to the peas. Serve hot.

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