1. Agriculture World

Palm Oil Production Can be Sustainable! Read & Know How?

Sugandh Bhatnagar
Sugandh Bhatnagar
Palm Kernels

The Centre Government has identified the north eastern region of India & the Andamans for Palm Cultivation under National Mission on Edible oil – Palm Oil.  While this is being considered as a great step which will reduce India’s dependence on other countries for meeting its edible oil requirements, A debate has started about it being sustainable or not?

Palm oil – the oil which has also been the center point among all the controversies about the rising prices of Edible oil across the world is also criticized by environmentalists because of its large carbon foot print & effect on the biodiversity. 

Lessons From Other Countries:

Countries like Indonesia & Malaysia which are the largest producers of this oil have suffered from the adverse effects of producing this oil. It has directly or indirectly caused large scale deforestation affecting the biodiversity & releasing significant amounts of CO2 in to the atmosphere.

Even after knowing all adverse effects of Palm Oil production, we cannot just stop utilizing it, because palm oil is literally present in everything around us from newspaper ink to food & Cosmetics- Everything! Not just that, palm oil in itself is not harmful- neither to our health, when eaten in moderation nor to the economy.

Solution:

Scientists have indicated that there might be a sustainable alternative its production. We can do this by devising a framework across the palm value chain.

This means having a set of environmental & social criteria at each stage of the value chain which must be complied, in order to produce sustainable production of palm oil.

The typical farming methods, oil palm trees are cut down every 25-30 years & replaced with young trees to start a new plantation cycle.

As the roots & other parts of the old trees decompose, they nourish the soil & partially offset the carbon initially lost in the upper soil layer when pastureland was converted. So, in the long run, the amount of carbon stored in the ecosystem remains unchanged pared to the initial level before the land conversion took place.

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