World

Palm oil: A god’s gift

The Malaysian Government introduced a new slogan at a national level to fight the criticism surrounding the palm oil.
Rhythima Agrawal

A Malaysian government official said that the slogan introduced at a national level will help to fight anti-oil sentiments around the world. Willie Mongin, the Deputy Minister of the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, said “The government is committed to marketing the new slogan locally and internationally”.

The new slogan ‘Palm oil is a god’s gift ‘ is a substitute for the earlier slogan ‘Love my palm oil’ which was introduced last year to bolster pride for palm oil cultivators amidst international criticism.

The palm oil is the world’s most widely consumed oil used by various companies to manufacture products like cereal, lipstick and detergent has drawn flaks from environmentalists saying that its cultivation leads to excessive deforestation which is mainly done by burning forests which emits high-level of carbon dioxide and black soot. Further, the European Union in a study found that palm oil contains 3-MCPD ester, a kind of food contamination that poses a serious threat to human health. The major diseases caused by this contamination are normochromic anemia, reduces male fertility and limp paralysis.

This is the major reason for banning the consumption of palm oil.

Malaysia is the second-largest producer of Palm oil in the world after Indonesia.

In November 2019, the European Union had filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization over Indonesian curbs on nickel ore exports and in return EU imposed tariffs on Indonesian biodiesel (which mainly uses palm oil) The European Union said that palm oil cultivation results in excessive deforestation and so it decided that palm oil-based diesel would not be considered a bio-fuel and its use in transport fuel would effectively be phased out between 2023 and 2030.

Indonesia then, filed a lawsuit at the World Trade Organization against the European Union, claiming the Union’s restrictions on palm oil-based biofuel to be unfair.

Like Indonesia, Malaysia is also preparing to file a World Trade Organization suit against the EU over its ban on palm-based biofuel. Palm oil is Malaysia’s fourth major export product, with the US$60 billion palm industry accounting for 4.4% of the country’s total exports in the first half of this year.

Although, palm oil has been badly criticized few experts around the world are in favor of palm oil consumption. Dr. Keller, from World Wide Fund for Nature, said that palm oil is a super-efficient crop, meaning that we can produce a lot more palm oil per area of land compared to other oil crops like soybean oil or coconut oil. It is also reported that oil palm trees do not require as many pesticides or fertilizers to be used when growing them. The palm oil industry offers jobs to people living in poverty in developing countries.

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