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Learning to love the world’s most hated crop

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 21:52 authored by Trevor Jackson, John Crawford, Carl Treaholt, Tom Sanders
The oil palm is grown throughout the humid tropics and success has led to expansion of plantations which now cover nearly 20 M ha of land globally and produce more than 1/3rd of the world’s vegetable oils. Oil palm expansion has been criticised for driving deforestation, emission of greenhouse gases (GHG), causing wildlife extinction, harm to local communities and indigenous peoples and damage to health, making oil palm “hated” in the eyes of many. The industry has responded to critics by declaring future expansion will be limited to previously degraded lands as deforestation for oil palm or planting on peat are now prohibited in Malaysia and Indonesia. This will limit GHG emissions from the industry and can turn palm oil production into a carbon sink. Loss and fragmentation of habitat threatens wildlife species with extinction, but this can be mitigated significantly through proper landscape management. Palm oil has lifted the economies of producer countries. The challenge is now to provide decent jobs and incomes for the coming generations and nutrients for the growing world population. Adherence to industry certification standards and the achievement of positive environmental and social benefits will turn the industry into one that can be truly “loved”.


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Copyright © 2018 Malaysian Palm Oil Board. All Rights Reserved.


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No


Malaysian Palm Oil Board

Journal title

Journal of Oil Palm Research




Jackson, T. A., Crawford, J. W., Treaholt, C., & Sanders, T. A. B. (2019). Learning to love the world’s most hated crop. Journal of Oil Palm Research, 31, 331–347. doi:10.21894/jopr.2019.0046

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