The recent FAO data that effectively said Malaysia’s deforestation rates had fallen to zero has ruffled feathers among campaigners.
The FAO goes through an extensive process of harmonization and cross-checking for its forest assessments. It is considered the go-to source by development agencies and other multilateral bodies around the world. It is held in such high esteem by so many other bodies.
We can safely say that the comprehensive global report from the United Nations FAO is a more reliable source of data than a letter from Friends of the Orangutans.
There appears to have been a concerted effort by NGOs to take down the recent FAO data in Malaysia and in Papua New Guinea – two countries where the FAO says deforestation rates have improved.
This looks like nothing less than a fear mongering campaign designed to discredit data sources and keep their campaign of disinformation going. And they have done so by shooting the messenger (the United Nations) and declaring it ‘greenwashing’ – not attempting to engage with the UN and the Malaysian Government or put forward a serious critique of its methodology or its processes.
Similarly, they shoot the messenger for using data on tree/forest cover published by US NGO Global Forest Watch. Yes, let us repeat. The data came from a US NGO that is supported by the Brits, Norwegians and the Americans aid agencies. Rather than critiquing of GFW and its methodology – which clearly includes plantations as tree cover – they have simply criticised the data cited.
Mr Upreshpal’s accusations of ‘spreading misinformation’ are misinformed, and purposeful, at best.
This puts Mr Upreshpal, and his group, at odds with the growing body of research that supports the idea that things are in fact improving in Malaysia.
For example, Yale University has conducted a 15-year longitudinal study on national environmental indicators. It considers Malaysia’s other environmental indicators to have improved 13 per cent over the past decade.
Perhaps then our conclusion should be this: when world-class institutions such as the United Nations FAO, and Yale University, give good news about Malaysia, we should be brave enough to celebrate it – instead of simply following Mr Upreshal down a road of never-ending complaints and cynicism.
On January 21st, the French Senate passed an amendment approving a massive and discriminatory new tax on palm oil. The tax was passed as part of the French Government’s Biodiversity Bill.
For many who have followed the palm oil debate in France, this is sadly familiar. The same Green Senators, using the same discriminatory criteria, proposed the same palm oil tax in 2013, 2014, and 2015. The tax was defeated on every occasion.
So, why was the tax defeated then, but it has passed now? This is a critical question in order to understand the current situation in France.
The primary reason that the tax was defeated previously is that it has no economic rationale at all. Imposing only taxes on palm oil, and not on similar vegetable oils, would be discriminatory and unjust.
Many French Parliamentarians and Government leaders recognised this, and so voted against the tax on every occasion – in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The current French Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault was even moved to give a speech in 2013 promising that France “would never impose discriminatory taxes on palm oil”.
So what has changed? Two primary factors –
First, the intervention of Environment Minister Segolene Royal. Mme Royale has previously made negative comments about palm oil, for which she apologized. However, she has played a substantial role in allowing the new discriminatory tax to pass. Mme Royal gave a ‘neutral’ recommendation to the Senate, substantially influencing the governing Socialist party. As a result, many Socialist Senators who in previous years had opposed the discriminatory tax, supported it in 2016.
Second, the Senate this time proposed the tax as part of the Biodiversity Bill – a politically less significant piece of legislation. This allowed Mme Royal and the Green Senators to sneak through the palm oil tax, with less scrutinty or attention. Previously, the tax had been proposed in the high-profile PLFFS Financing Bill, meaning that bogus arguments were exposed in public and so the vote was always against the tax.
As a result, the damaging, discriminatory tax has now been passed, and awaits a vote in the National Assembly in March.
We know that the tax is economically unsound. It is also legally unsound. The tax would contravene both WTO trade rules, and the Internal Market laws of the European Union, because it is discriminatory (only applying to palm oil and not to competitor products). To make matters worse, the tax is scientifically unsound. Claims that palm oil is harmful for health have been thoroughly debunked by numerous international scientific bodies; and allegations that Malaysia is deforesting have been exposed by a recent United Nations forest report as being simply, and demonstrably, inaccurate.
To recap, the palm oil tax is discriminatory, which breaks EU and WTO rules. The scientific rationale has been undermined by experts in every field; and the economic basis for the tax is fraudulent.
The decision now moves on to the French National Assembly, and the French Government will have a critical role to play. Malaysia, and other palm oil producing countries, are historically good friends and trading partners with France. Indeed, the French Foreign Minister, M. Ayrault, said as much – in the same speech in 2013 when he promised not to tax palm oil. It should be the fervent hope of the one million Malaysians who depend on the palm oil sector – including 300,000 small farmers – that M. Ayrault can keep his promise, and the French Government will see sense and reject this tax.
The announcement that Jean-Marc Ayrault, an eminent former French Prime Minister, will be the Government’s new Foreign Minister, will surely be greeted as good news for Malaysian palm oil farmers and the wider sector.
In 2013, then-PM Ayrault travelled to Malaysia for a successful visit, including a keynote speech which included the promise that “palm oil will not be taxed” in France.
Mr Ayrault’s return to Government has come at just the right time. The French Senate has proposed massive discrimination against palm oil through a new punitive tax only on palm oil.
As Foreign Minister, Mr Ayrault’s focus will be on ensuring France retains good relations with her trading and diplomatic partners. One of his first tasks will be to keep the promise that he made to the people of Malaysia in 2013. We welcome his appointment to the French Government, and wish him well.
Nouveau Ministre Français des Affaires Étrangères: un allié de la Malaisie
L’annonce de la nomination de Jean-Marc Ayrault, ancien Premier Ministre Français, en tant que nouveau Ministre des Affaires Étrangères du Gouvernement, sera accueillie comme une bonne nouvelle par les agriculteurs d’huile de palme malaisiens ainsi que pour tout le secteur.
En 2013, l’ancien Premier Ministre s’était rendu en Malaisie lors d’une visite au cours de laquelle il fit la promesse que ‘l’huile de palme ne sera pas taxé’ en France.
Le retour de Mr. Ayrault au Gouvernement arrive au bon moment. Le Sénat Français a proposé une nouvelle taxe punitive à l’encontre de l’huile de palme.
En tant que Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, le focus de Mr. Ayrault sera d’assurer que la France conserve de bonnes relations avec ses partenaires économiques et diplomatiques. Une de ses premières missions sera d’honorer la promesse qu’il a faite au peuple de Malaisie en 2013. Nous le félicitons pour sa nomination au Gouvernement et lui souhaitons le meilleur.
L’olio di palma da qualche tempo viene accusato di essere pericoloso per la salute oppure di avere un grave impatto ambientale. Per sgombrare il campo, ecco alcuni elementi che possono aiutare un giudizio non emotivo.
Le Chef Français David Martin vous fera découvrir ses dernières préparations culinaires à Paris. Le Jeudi 11 Février uniquement, David Martin préparera des plats avec de l’huile de palme. Chef Martin sera à La Défense de midi à 14h00 afin de préparer de délicieux mets avec de l’huile de palme Malaisienne.
Le Chef Martin servira 3 plats Européens avec une touche de Malaisie :
- Churros de pomme de terre sauce Choron
- Ailerons de poulets Diable
- Fish and Chips sauce vinaigrette huile de palme rouge
Si vous vous trouvez dans le quartier ou si vous voulez tout simplement goûter à l’excellente cuisine d’un des meilleurs Chef Français, alors n’hésitez pas à faire le déplacement:
Jeudi 11 Février 2016 de midi à 14h
Place de La Défense, Paris
Le Food Truck de David Martin est une excellente opportunité de découvrir la cuisine d’un célèbre Chef, mais également d’en apprendre plus sur l’huile de palme. David Martin va cuisiner avec de l’huile de palme, qui contient de la vitamine A beta-carotènes et de la Vitamine E.
L’huile de palme fait l’objet de désinformation en France, et la vérité n’est hélas pas assez connue. Le Food Truck offre l’opportunité d’en savoir plus sur les raisons pour lesquelles l’huile de palme est l’huile la plus populaire au monde, mais également comment l’utiliser pour préparer des plats européens.
Informations sur David Martin :
Le Chef David Martin est un célèbre cuisinier Français, et ancien animateur d’émissions culinaires. Il a ouvert et géré des restaurants en région parisienne et au Cambodge, à coté des temples d’Angkor, où il a vécu plusieurs années.
David Martin, en collaboration avec le cardiologue Dr. Guy-André Pelouze, a créé une série de recettes délicieuses et saines avec de l’huile de palme qu’ils partagent avec vous. La première recette a été publiée la semaine dernière. Venez la découvrir ici :
French chef David Martin is bringing his latest culinary creations to Paris. For one day only, on Thursday 11th February, David Martin will be cooking with palm oil in his own Food Truck. Chef Martin will stop at La Défense from 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm to prepare some delicious dishes using Malaysian palm oil.
Chef Martin will be serving three European dishes with a Malaysian twist:
- Potato Churros
- Spicy Chicken Wings
- Fish & Chips
If you are in the neighbourhood around that time or are simply eager to try some tasty food made by one of France’s best chefs, make sure to meet the Food Truck at:
Thursday 11 February 2016 from 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm
Place de la Défense, Paris
David Martin’s Food Truck is a great opportunity not only to experience street food from a famous chef, but also to learn more about palm oil. David Martin will be cooking with Malaysian palm oil, which is packed full of Vitamin A betacarotenes and Vitamin E tocotrienols.
Palm oil has been the subject of much misunderstanding in France, and the truth is unfortunately not widely known. The Food Truck offers an opportunity to find out the facts of why palm oil is the world’s most-popular cooking oil, and how it can be used in everyday European recipes.
Facts on David Martin:
Chef David Martin is a French chef, celebrity and former TV host. He has opened and managed restaurants near Paris, and also two restaurants in Cambodia next to the Angkor temples where he lived for a couple of years. It was in Cambodia where the chef first learned about the benefits of palm oil as a local, healthy vegetable oil.
David Martin, in partnership with cardiologist Dr. Guy-André Pelouze, has created a series of delicious and healthy recipes using palm oil for you to reproduce at home. The first recipe was published this week. You can find out how to make it yourself here:
The UK think-tank Innovation Forum has published a thought-provoking piece on the significance of smallholders in the supply chains of major food companies, such as Nestle.
The article highlights the significance of smallholders on the supply side of the commodities market, implying that they have for the most part been forgotten by major companies, when examining their supply chains.
In the global palm oil market this is certainly the case. Whereas smallholders have been a prominent part of the sustainability debate for commodities such as coffee and cocoa, they are barely recognized when it comes to palm oil.
They have, rather, been something of an afterthought when it comes to sustainability policy. This also tallies with the standing United Nations definition of sustainable development – which is that it must address economic and social factors, as well as environmental. Too often, Western companies forget this, and their sustainability policies in relation to palm oil do not benefit smallholders – and in some cases actively harm them.
However, the Innovation Forum’s post appears to address this to a degree. It refers to a new report from the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
In relation to large companies and palm oil, UNCTAD states:
“The experience seems to be positive as the companies provide quality seeds and introduce better planting techniques that increase smallholders’ productivity … Participating smallholders appear to be better off in terms of income than those who do not participate in contract farming. Other studies also suggest that productivity, quality and income gains can accrue to smallholders engaged in contract farming.”
Often large-scale agriculture is described as being in opposition to smallholder agriculture. But they can often work together. The Western purchasers of commodities such as palm oil would do well to work more closely with smallholders too.
Le célèbre Chef et personnalité Française David Martin, vous invite pour un voyage culinaire afin de vous faire découvrir ses nouvelles recettes de cuisine avec de l’huile de palme, et autres techniques culinaires. Accompagné par le chirurgien cardiovasculaire et thoracique Dr. Guy-André Pelouze, qui l’aide dans la préparation de ce plat tout en expliquant les bienfaits pour la santé de la cuisson avec de l’huile de palme, ils partageront avec vous cette expérience de fin gourmet!
Dans cette première vidéo, le Chef Martin prépare une recette traditionnelle cuisinée en Malaisie, le Sothi Malayalam. C’est un plat sain et délicieux que vous pouvez facilement préparer à la maison. Si vous voulez apprendre à cuisiner comme un Chef et préparer de la nourriture savoureuse et saine, suivez bien la recette et préparez vous un plat fantastique !