Unexpected benefits of falling palm oil prices

10 11 2008

© Google Earth

© Google Earth

This one from Mongabay.com and the Jakarta Post. It would almost be humorous, if it weren’t so pathetic. After years of so-called ‘greenwashing’ tactics to downplay the environmental degradation caused by expanding oil palm plantations (see also related post here), falling world palm oil prices may just be the thing needed to curb the greed. As a side note, I recently visited China and now realise where a good proportion of the oil palm is going – while the food was fantastic, the amount of oil used in almost everything is a bit over the top. For a ‘developing’ nation, there sure were quite a few fatties on the street. Convincing China to eat less oil will also reduce demand for oil palm and save SE Asia’s dwindling biodiversity.

The agricultural ministers for both countries [Indonesia and Malaysia] agreed to initiate a 300,000-hectare replanting program that will replace aging trees with seedlings of higher-yielding varieties. The seedlings will begin to bear oil palm fruit “fresh fruit bunches” for harvest in three to four years’ time.

“Demand is projected to slow down in every sector next year as a result of global recession. We’re preventing a possible oversupply of palm oil that may occur next year by replanting trees,” Achmad Mangga Barani, the director general for plantations for Indonesia’s Agriculture Ministry, was quoted as saying. “This hopefully will help boost the palm oil price to a normal level — at around US$700 to $800 per metric ton.”

Palm oil prices in Malaysia have fallen from more than $1200 per ton earlier this year to a three-year low of around $376 per ton on Oct. 28. Palm oil prices have lately moved in step with the price crude oil, which has also rapidly retreated from recent record high nominal prices.

The decline in palm oil prices is expected to slow expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, a development that will please environmentalists who blame the palm oil industry for large-scale destruction of rainforests across Southeast Asia.

The new plan calls for replanting of 50,000 hectares in Indonesia and 250,000 in Malaysia. Indonesia, which has significantly lower palm oil yields than Malaysia due to marginal oil palm varieties and fewer industrial producers, will aim to replant 125,000 ha by 2011.


Actions

Information

12 responses

13 01 2009
Bodong

I was actually in Central and East Kalimantan while all this was transpiring– with limited internet access. ??????? BOSS in Central Kalimantan has limited internet access??? In Palangkaraya the capital of Central Kalimantan there are huge of hotspot, telkomnet, wireless access…. dasar bungul.

I never cease to be amazed how anyone in their right mind can defend the wholesale destruction of the rainforest and expansion of palm oil plantations. Why do you feel so compelled to turn the forests of Borneo into a desert?
Hei, in Central Kalimantan we have RTRWP (land use planning), not all the forest will be convert to agriculture…. we have 400.000 ha National Park IN Tanjung Puting, we have peat reserve in Sebangau …. more, in RTRWP will conserve 60% of total Kalteng area. compare to the other places…. So, the oil palm companies cleared the specific area, we called KPP/KPPL which legally to be cleared (that you called it crime?). And also, in Kalteng you have freedom to do everything evethough you blame the others with one-side or unjust argument (democracy), compare to the other places….. all the economic activities were purposed to my country’s children to have the better education, so they’ll be a good man (not launch a rocket to attact Israel, not destroy “holocaust” to Gaza, not steal orangutan blood and not blame each other just for fun or for fund).

Do you think that just because Western nations have destroyed their own forests that Indonesia should follow in their footsteps? Wrong interpretation…. it’s not about the true of false, but it more about fairness. Look like a battle between Israel and Hamas (killing a mosquitoes by bomb).

How many pieces of silver are you being paid to shill for the palm oil industry, Pak? Hei, I am a farmer…. the company never pay me, and also the oil palm companies never pay attention for NGO’s barks… “both are useless” they said. But what I want to tell you is …. you must learn about RTRWP (land use planning), so you can “bark” more powerfull if you tell the truth.

Why do you get aggressive with me? Why have you sat there and done nothing as your beautiful land was turned into a wasteland? What have you been doing for the past 40 years? It’s a respond of your unjust comments everywhere, and also the other ex Nyarumenteng people comments about oil palm plantations in Kalteng. Some of your comments are correct, but the most are incorrect. Exaggerating and dramatizing of the fact reflect the frustation to expressed, far from objectivity (it’s ok for self motivation purposes, but it’s very dangerous for other purposes). I ever visited Nyaru Menteng and Samboja, I know what’s going on, but I never blame the others. I think, the best way in Kalteng is to save people first and then orangutan (seem like what a stewardess say in the airplane before take off…please mother use oxygen mask first before the child)…. it’s mean the priority of problems (all problem are important, but we must care its step by step). It’s not mean that we don’t care of orangutan, but we must prioritized our problems. Like you, or Prof. Birute….. the first problem (poverty, illiterate, etc.) is no problem anymore, so you can solve the next problem…. orangutan. I think if you are clever, you’ll find the best solution for the problem solving (so not breaking problem to be problems like now).

Apple to apple. The enemy of oil palm plantations company are the other oil palm companies. So, the enemy of orangutan NGO’s are the other orangutan NGO’s, not oil palm companies (aren’t its?). Please reflect yourself.

“You can see an ant overseas, but you can’t see an elephant in front of your eyes”.

Like

12 01 2009
Richard Zimmerman

Please forgive my delay in responding. I was actually in Central and East Kalimantan while all this was transpiring– with limited internet access.

I never cease to be amazed how anyone in their right mind can defend the wholesale destruction of the rainforest and expansion of palm oil plantations. This is not economic development in any sense of the word. It is an environmental crime– perpetrated by the rich and greedy upon those unable to defend themselves. You know this, Pak Bodong– so why do you choose to be a coward and point the finger elsewhere instead of allying yourself with what is right and true? Do you think that just because Western nations have destroyed their own forests that Indonesia should follow in their footsteps? Come on…. Wake up. We’ve only got one planet. Why do you feel so compelled to turn the forests of Borneo into a desert? What will you tell your children when they ask why you didn’t do something to protect their heritage? How many pieces of silver are you being paid to shill for the palm oil industry, Pak?

Why do you get aggressive with me? So you know orangutans better than I do? Fantastic. You’ve been there since 1970? Wonderful. My question is this: Why have you sat there and done nothing as your beautiful land was turned into a wasteland? What have you been doing for the past 40 years?

You ask why I didn’t help Prof. Birute in Orangutan Foundation International?
Why do you ask such a strange question? Tell us, Pak Bodong, who’s the “real man/women that actually save orangutan…. not just talk….” Tell us, silahkan…

Like

21 12 2008
Bodong

The big thing is real action, not just speech, analysis, or “short knowledge”. Ok, let’s get real action:

1. Please visit http://www.palmoilplantations.com.au and you’ll know who’s the culprit. It’s better if you can stop australian oil palm companies first.

2. I actually Live in Pangkalan Bun (near Tanjung Puting National Park)and friend of Pak Bohap (Prof. Birute’s husband) and also friend of Odom (ex Lone husband), I know who’s the real heroes in here (both conservationist and oil palm growers). I also know who’s the people that just write a proposal just for dollar (with a content of blaming others). And I know the conflict between environmental NGOs not for real conservation actions but just for donor source.

3. I will very appreciate if you can first “greening” your country. It’s ok that in Indonesia and Brazil there’s a huge % of forest degradation, because rain forest only left in both countries (Mr. Googleearth told me that). It’s recommended if every country in the world has minimum 30% forest cover… so let’s doing that.

4. Attacks on oil palm plantations I think worthless, because they’re invited by the government to invest there (it’s not about corruption, but it’s about land use planning). It is legal. And I think all of oil palm companies avoid forest because of high cost for land clearing. It’s better if NGOs involved in the land use planning setup and controlling it. So, what’s the master plan of Borneo you can see in the land use planning. Rountable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) I think the better way to share.

5. I know about ecology (indeed), and I know what’s going on. But, Sustainability means doing things better – not doing things without (Dr. David T. Suzuki).
World’s total land area is approx: 13.4 Bn ha. 4.2 bil ha (or 31%) of land thought capable of supporting agriculture. Only 1.5 bil ha (35%) used today. Two ways to increase grain or vegetable oil output: by taking more land into production, or by boosting yields. Do we let the world go hungry or do we commit ourselves towards sustainable practices thus striking a balance between economy and ecology within the frameworks of our agricultural operations?

“you can see an ant overseas, but you can’t see an elephant in front of your eyes”.

Like

20 12 2008
Corey Bradshaw

Bodong,

Your naivety and ignorance are unfortunate, but not surprising. I’ll say straight away that I’ll chalk your poor and insulting English up to lack of practice, but that will not excuse further incidences (read my commenting policy). That goes for the sock puppets as well. Second, why do you say you live in Borneo when your IP address is in Jakarta? Are you lying?

Now, the more interesting responses.

1. Sorry, but we don’t need more people – especially in Indonesia. With an annual growth rate of around 1.3 % and a total human population exceeding 222 million (130 million on Java alone), Indonesia is one of the most over-populated places on the planet. Your poverty, poor environmental record, disease prevalence and shocking governance are just some of the many corollaries of too many people demanding too few resources (I have visited Java many times – I have seen the chaos myself). The world is starting to wake up to the fact that we have vastly overshot the Earth’s carrying capacity, and it would be in Indonesia’s best interest to realise this too.

2. You have to be seriously deluded if you think that the money earned from oil palm plantations is going to the people of Borneo. Out of 157 countries ranked for corruption in 2005, Indonesia ranked in the worst 11 %, and was the 2nd-worst in Asia (only Myanmar was ranked lower). That money is going to the investors and corrupt government officials who allow expansion. The native peoples of Borneo are essentially being kicked out of the forests so they can be cleared.

3. The area of cultivation is entirely irrelevant – you must compare these values to total country area and antecedent forest cover. Being a wet, tropical country, Indonesia has a much higher antecedent forest cover (~45 % in 2005) than Australia or the USA (~21 and 30 %, respectively). The real shock, you may discover, is that Indonesia is in the worst 2 % of deforestation RATE in the ENTIRE WORLD! You lost around 26 % of your forests between 1990 and 2005, whereas Australia and the USA lost 3 and 1 %, respectively. I’m not for a moment saying Australia and the USA have a good track record (we certainly cannot afford to lose any more), but Indonesia is losing more than practically anywhere in the world – and because you have more species to lose, it’s a veritable biodiversity tragedy. Don’t believe my numbers? I suggest you visit the World Resources Institute and the FAO to verify. Hard numbers (although admittedly there is some minor ambiguity from some misclassification issues with satellite imagery).

4. Finally, it’s really your coffin. If you think species loss is a benign concern of the wealthy, you are sadly mistaken. The billions of dollars of ecosystem services that support the human life you find so precious are being eroded as fast as your forests are disappearing. Floods, disease, pollination…the list goes on. If you and your fellow citizens continue to ignore these issues, your collective suffering will only increase.

Like

18 12 2008
Bodong

Mr. Bradshaw : I search in the Google earth, and I know that most of area in your country covered by a large huge of dessert (sandy and opened area) stretch from west to east and north to south….. so, please travelling to Borneo (not just read from Cifor report) and not just in Bali….. or just in the boat (klotok) in Tanjung Puting….. I suggest it’ll better by chop…. seeing is believing, and as a scientist, data and fact is essential to argue, isn’t it? Please also compare earth cover in US and in Borneo…. how large soy bean and corn cultivated area (ca. 90 million ha in US) than just 6,7 million ha oil palm in Indonesia to produce equal amount of vegetable oil… please read FAO and USDA report…

Like

18 12 2008
Bodong

Mr. Zimmerman: I’ve been living in Borneo since 1970…. I know orangutan than you…. don’t talk exaggerate and unjust about forest in Borneo…. I’m waiting you to come to my forest in Borneo. About Lone (Nyaru Menteng) of couse there are no forest near by, because they built orangutan care in capital of central Borneo (Palangkaraya).

Why you didn’t help Prof. Birute in Orangutan Foundation International? and I know who’s the real man/women that actually save orangutan…. not just talk….

Like

18 12 2008
Bodong

The problem is how to save orangutan and also save orangbeneran (human being). I’ll appreciate if you can give me a good an a wise solution for both…. If not, shut up.

Like

28 11 2008
Corey Bradshaw

Excuse me? So Bodong believes the conservation crisis is due to insufficient conservation donations to supplement orangutan ‘sitters’ (I assume meaning some sort of captive minding). The problem has NOTHING to do with this, I’m afraid. It’s the massive loss of primary forest habitat from expanding oil palm plantations. When will SEA countries realise that they can’t keep cutting down forests? The mind boggles. Point taken on the economic cycle – I’m sure the oil palm price setback is only temporary.

Like

27 11 2008
bodong

Palm oil price is no problem, because oil palm business take 25-years economic cycle. Financial crisis actually threat orangutan conservations, because lack of donation to feed and pay orangutan sitters.

Like

25 11 2008
Forest Policy Research » Blog Archive » 434 World Wide Tree News

[…] 15) It would almost be humorous, if it weren’t so pathetic. After years of so-called ‘greenwashing’ tactics to downplay the environmental degradation caused by expanding oil palm plantations (see also related post here), falling world palm oil prices may just be the thing needed to curb the greed. As a side note, I recently visited China and now realise where a good proportion of the oil palm is going – while the food was fantastic, the amount of oil used in almost everything is a bit over the top. For a ‘developing’ nation, there sure were quite a few fatties on the street. Convincing China to eat less oil will also reduce demand for oil palm and save SE Asia’s dwindling biodiversity. https://conservationbytes.com/2008/11/10/unexpected-benefits-of-falling-palm-oil-prices/ […]

Like

10 11 2008
Corey Bradshaw

Dear Richard,

Thanks for bringing this to our readers’ attention.

CJA Bradshaw

Like

10 11 2008
Richard Zimmerman

Thank you so much for discussing palm oil on your website. One of the biggest victims of the palm oil industry is the orangutan. The forests of Borneo and Sumatra are the only place where these gentle, intelligent creatures live, and the cultivation of palm oil has directly led to the brutal deaths of thousands of individuals as the industry has expanded. When the forest is cleared, adult orangutans are typically shot on sight. These peaceful, sentient beings are beaten, burned, mutilated, tortured and eaten. Babies are torn off their dying mothers so they can be sold on the black market as illegal pets to wealthy families who see them as status symbols of their own power and prestige.

Some of the luckier orangutans are confiscated and brought to sanctuaries such as the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, which is now home to approximately 700 orphaned and displaced orangutans in Central Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). Many of these orangutans are only weeks old when they arrive, and all of them psychologically traumatized and desperate for their mothers who unfortunately are no longer alive. Nyaru Menteng is managed by a remarkable woman named Lone Droscher Nielsen and is featured on Animal Planet’s series ‘Orangutan Island’.

To learn more about the crisis facing wild orangutans because of palm oil and see how you can help protect them, please visit the Orangutan Outreach website: http://redapes.org

Thanks for your time and keep up the great work!

Richard Zimmerman
Director, Orangutan Outreach
http://redapes.org
Reach out and save the orangutans!
Facebook Cause: http://causes.com/redapes

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s