The Oil Palm

Blogging Live from the 7th Global Oils & Fats Forum, USA: GOFF 7: Avoided Deforestation

Following the recent announcement by the European Commission that it would delay consideration of an Indirect Land Use Change Factor in the Renewable Energy Directive until 2016, Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron highlighted palm oil’s ability to reduce deforestation globally through the displacement of less efficient oilseeds.

While participating in a forum on the future prospects of the global vegetable oil market, Dr Basiron brought to the attention a fact of palm oil long ignored by the crop’s environmental critics – that for every hectare of land under palm oil, six, eight or ten hectares of rapeseed, sunflower or soybean would be required to produce one tonne of vegetable oil, respectively.

Indirect Land Use Change is a highly complicated issue, which requires balancing numerous factors to effectively assess a crops indirect effect on land. That such a balance has not been extended to palm oil reflects the real purpose of the debate – to limit the market access of less costly, more sustainable biofuel feedstocks.