Five Palm Oil Solutions for Ecosystems and World Communities

The presence of oil palm in the world ecosystem does not only produce palm oil for the needs of the world community. Although about 90 percent of palm oil is produced from Indonesia and Malaysia, the actual benefits of the presence of oil palm provide multiple benefits for the entire people and ecosystems of the world. Among them, the five solutions presented by oil palm are as follows.

First, saving more land for world vegetable oil production. The need for vegetable oil from the world community both as food and non-food continues to increase by around 6 million tons per year. To meet the additional needs of vegetable oils, it is fulfilled from 4 major vegetable oil sources in the world, namely oil palm, soybean, sunflower seeds and rapeseed. If additional vegetable oil is fulfilled from 3 types of soybean, sunflower, rapeseed (average productivity of 0.6 tons of oil/ha), then the additional land requirement for the 3 types of vegetable oil is at least 10 million hectares (encouraging deforestation and land use change). However, if the additional vegetable oil needs are met from oil palm plantations, it only requires about 1.5 million hectares of land. Even through increasing palm oil productivity (in which can still be increased) from 4 tons to 8 tons of oil per hectare, there is no need to add more land for oil palm plantation. In short, with the presence of oil palm, the world community does not need to add more land (saving deforestation, land use change) in the supply of world vegetable oils.

Second, providing cheaper vegetable oil. The presence of palm oil in the world’s ecosystem has been providing vegetable oils that are cheaper (and more efficient) than other vegetable oils. The price of palm oil on the world market is the most competitive (cheaper) compared to other vegetable oils. This helps the world’s low-income and poor people to obtain vegetable oil for their food use.

Third, providing energy and saving emissions or low carbon. Until now the world community faces the problem of global warming (and the impact on world climate change) caused by large carbon emissions from consumption of fossil fuels (petroleum, gas, coal). To reduce global carbon emissions, the solution is to reduce fuel emissions by switching to bio-fuels whose emissions are far lower and it can also reabsorb carbon emissions from the earth’s atmosphere. The presence of oil palm in the world ecosystem presents both solutions, namely providing emission-saving bio-fuels (biodiesel, palm oil, bio-avtur) and its production process in oil palm plantations to reabsorb carbon from the earth’s atmosphere.

Fourth, helping developed countries overcome food-fuel trade-off problems. At present, developed countries, especially the European Union and the United States, face trade offs in using vegetable oil (soybean, sunflower, rapeseed) for food or bio-fuel. If the vegetable oil is used for food alone, it will sacrifice bio-fuel production (to replace fossil oil). In the opposite, if the vegetable oil is used for bio-fuel, the availability of food will be disrupted or threaten food security there. The solution to the trade-off is that there must be other vegetable oils from outside the European Union and the United States that are cheaper. Currently the most available option is palm oil. The presence of palm oil in the European community and the United States and the world as a whole will eliminate the trade-off, both the availability of food and the availability of bio-fuels can be fulfilled at once.

Fifth, providing solution to the world’s plastic waste pollution. Today the world society and ecosystems face pollution of plastic waste which pollutes the environment of river and other body of waters. During this time the world community uses plastic goods made from chemical derivatives of petroleum/fossils or petro-plastic. The petro-plastic characteristics are difficult to decompose naturally, so plastic that is not used anymore will accumulate and damage the global aquatic ecosystem. The presence of oil palm also presents a solution for petro-plastic through bio-plastics that are environmentally friendly and also biodegradable.
Where is palm oil bio-plastic? From the production of FFB (Fresh Fruit Bunches) only 20 percent is in the form of palm oil and the remaining 80 percent is in the form of biomass (empty bunches) which is the raw material for bio-plastics.

In short, palm oil presents solutions for the world’s people and ecosystems. Environmentally friendly, multi-beneficial solutions that are economically sustainable, socially sustainable and environmentally sustainable.

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