A local point of view

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Having just come back from working in Borneo, I now see another side to the easy-to-knock palm oil industry.  There, people are concerned about development.  A palm oil plantation is regarded much like a cultivated valley in the west.  The impact on the orangutans is regretted and in some ways ameliorated with local support for sanctuaries. But it is not the primary concern when human material issues are at stake.

EU policies on bio-fuel from palm oil and for the oils used in cooking impact not just on the profits of trans-national corporations but also the livelihoods of peasant farmers (see article). 

 Palm oil

Complex stuff.  Not just about Nestle and Kit Kats.

In Kenya a couple of years ago, the local press also helped me see there are other points of view on:

1) using corn in the US for bio-fuel. Surely a good thing – but less grain available as food aid in areas where people are starving as a result of drought.

2) the pros as well as the cons of poor farmers flying green beans and flowers to Europe, including the low energy and pesticides required in their forms of agriculture.

All our points of view are local – so it’s worth travelling to find a different way of looking at things.

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