Written By Frank Tate
Friday, 01 March 2013
Friday, 01 March 2013
Dr Oz’s show on TV is widely followed. So when Dr Oz recommends red palm oil as a miracle oil that could stop signs of aging inside and out, it resulted in a buying frenzy. There was nothing scientifically wrong with Dr Oz’s recommendation for it was based on tons of peer reviewed scientific studies which backed up Dr Oz’s recommendations.
One would have thought that Dr Oz’s recommendations would be welcomed, given his obvious good intentions. However, the operative words were “buying frenzy”, and the powers-that-be in the Environment Directorate of the European Commission that had spent the best part of one decade funding surrogate green groups to launch anti-palm oil campaigns ostensibly to help encourage good environmental practices in developing countries could not have that. In reality, according to Italian civil libertarian group, Libertiamo, these palm oil campaigns were designed to erect artificial trade barriers against palm oil to protect the EU’s own indigenous edible oilseed industries such as rape and sunflower oil, which were unable to compete in the open market against the hyper yielding palm oil.
Says Libertiamo: “In the past three years alone the EC has handed out nearly €2 million to Rainforest Action Network (RAN), €4 million to Friends of the Earth, and €5 million to the WWF. The reason for this funding, which has been increasing each year since 2005, appears to be payment for these so called green groups to erect trade barriers to palm oil in the European markets, to protect the EU’s edible oilseed industries, which struggle to compete against the super high yield of palm oil.
The attack dogs selected to deal with Dr Oz was RAN which set about organizing an email campaign to pressure Dr Oz “to reconsider promoting destructive palm oil to millions of consumers who will unwittingly be contributing to the demise of tropical rainforests and all the fragile species that depend on them.”
I used to be baffled by the flak that palm oil draws from green groups such as RAN. My puzzlement was natural as palm oil was probably the most benign oilseed crop, environmentally speaking. After all, 11% of the earth’s surface are used for agriculture and palm oil only accounts for 0.23% of that. Yet the commodity is so hyper yielding that with such a minute planting footprint, palm oil supplies 30% of the world’s edible oil needs. If a competing oilseed like soy was planted instead of palm oil, 10 times more land would have to be cleared as palm oil with its current yield of 4-5 metric tons per hectare already exceeds soy by a multiple of ten! In fact, best in class plantations are already producing 8 metric tons and current R&D points to a potential yield of 20 metric tons per hectare! In contrast, rapeseed yields a paltry 0.69 metric tons per hectare, sunflower a meagre 0.33 and soy a miniscule 0.37 metric tons per hectare! More devastatingly, these palm oil competitors have reached their maximum genetic potential whilst palm oil is just starting!
However, with Libertiamo’s expose, I’m no longer baffled. The EU has competing edible oilseed industries which are hapless in facing the market onslaught from palm oil. The EC would like to protect them, but due to WTO rules, the EC’s hands are tied.
And so the plan was hatched by the EC to use green groups like RAN to carry out anti-palm oil campaigns using spurious grounds such as deforestation to try to stop the palm oil juggernaut! The saddest part is that, according to Libertiamo, the EC is fully cognizant of the fact that most of these campaigns are based on “manufactured” and false evidence!
In the final analysis, Dr Oz should be commended for standing up to the misplaced malice of RAN, a group more concerned with the payola greasing their bank accounts which appeared gift wrapped with a bow but more likely has ended up trussing RAN up like a turkey and in due course, in ball and chains! THE END