In a howling March wind, a section of fence around our house blew down! My first reaction was to blame the man who built it for me only a few months before. On further reflection, I knew the fault was mine. As the fence was nearing completion, I told him there was no need to replace four existing posts from the previous fence with new ones set in concrete. “Just attach the new fence to the old posts,” I said. “It will be fine.” It was—until the winds came.
In many ways, this reflects on the reaction of us Europeans to the howling winds of palm oil in the world edible oil market, sweeping all before it to gain ascendency and assuming market leadership. The reason is clear. Palm oil is simply the most productive edible oilseed crop in the world with a yield that is almost astounding!
One single hectare currently yields an average of 4.14 metric tons of edible oil whilst competitors like rapeseed produce, by comparison an insignificant yield of 0.69 metric tons, sunflower and even smaller yield of 0.43 metric tons and soy an even more miniscule yield of 0.37 metric tons per hectare! And that’s just average yield. Current best in class palm oil plantations are already yielding 8 metric tons per hectare! However, what has truly sent trepidations through the halls of power in the European Commission (EC) is that the European edible oilseed crops have just about reached their genetic potential whilst palm oil’s is just beginning - current R&D points to a potential yield of 20 metric tons per hectare for palm oil!
In a situation such as this, there are many possible ways the European could and should react. Imagine the froideur if the EC had rightly viewed palm oil as a rising tide that could lift all boats and encourage its edible oil industries to invest in palm oil plantations in the developing world and perhaps, blending the wonder oil with our own indigenous edible oils. But what does the EC do? Rather than concede the shortcomings of our edible oil industries and focus on that or on improving R&D and marketing, the EC resorts to dirty tricks, funding green surrogates to run dubious palm oil campaigns that the EC is aware is based on manufactured and false evidence!
If not for Italian civil libertarian group, Libertiamo, all these would not have seen the light of day! In a study of the actions of the European Commission (EC) and their secret role in the palm oil wars called “Taxpayer Funding, NGO Collusion and Manufactured Crises: A Case Study of Malaysia and Palm Oil.”, Libertiamo points out that the real reason behind the EC’s bizarre funding of environmental NGOs to carry out vicious anti-palm oil campaigns that they are aware are based on false and manufactured evidence is to erect artificial trade barriers against palm oil to prevent competition against the EU’s own edible oil industries such as rapeseed and sunflower oil!
Says Libertiamo: “These green NGOs have become peddlers of half truths to drive donations and attract government largesse. And donor governments support them, in the interest of uncompetitive domestic industries and neo colonial ambitions!”
Now the anti-palm oil campaign circus, premised on lies from within the deep bowels of hell, has moved into France. French manufacturers and retailers like Groupe Casino and Systeme U have all announced pledges to keep the figurative boot on the throat palm oil, pledging to either insert “Palm Oil Free” labels onto their products or to stop selling products containing palm oil altogether.
They are probably be the precursor of things to come in the edible oil wars and they will very unlikely to be the last ones to take this low road, not when you have an EC which is willing to resort to making things up for purely protectionist reasons!
However, like all things ethically wrong and morally reprehensible, the ugly utter falsehoods and lack of moral fiber of the EC will eventually come back to bite it! THE END