The debate over oil palm cultivation and development has considered the crop in isolation, dehumanizing a crop that has fed and provided employment to millions. But much as corn growers in Iowa in the United States, and rapeseed farmers in France, oil palm cultivation has provided invaluable benefits to people throughout the world and history. Among those important benefits, such as the superior land efficiency of oil palms and the industry’s commitment to conservation, are the incredible achievements made in reducing poverty. In Malaysia, where small farmer cultivation of oil palms has been a cornerstone of poverty eradication, visitors can see this firsthand.
Now, MPOC, along with the National Association of Smallholders (NASH) and the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA) have launched a new campaign to bring the incredible story of Malaysian prosperity and social advancement reflected by Malaysia’s palm oil small farmers.
The newly launched online platform, Human Faces of Palm Oil, provides firsthand accounts from Malaysian small farmers about how cultivating oil palms has improved their lives. While individually they may only own small plots of land, together small farmers like Ahmad Sidek account for 40 percent of land under oil palm cultivation and this new website provides them with a platform to tell their story, educating stakeholders and the public at large about the small farmer prosperity in the Malaysian palm oil industry.
Featuring interviews with other small farmers like Nosen Kuad and Rebecca Lambert, the campaign illustrates how the development of the palm oil industry has centered on small farmer cultivation, benefitting families and local communities through infrastructure development and social services like education and healthcare.
Most importantly, the platform also seeks to highlight the common cause Malaysian small farmers have with their counterparts in Europe and America; countering the negative perception of palm oil and demonstrating its critical contribution to poverty eradication and societal advancement.