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Local Farmers Creating New Name For Palm Oil

In the video clip The Search for Sustainable Palm Oil which is covered by DW English, goes to the heart of the production of palm oil in a region in Africa to discover if the demand of this type of oil can be sustainable for the surrounding environment. DW is a publicly funded German broadcaster which started this news coverage to show that local companies and farmers in the native areas are focusing on producing palm oils in a more sustainable way. The video begins by showing land that a large corporation has paid off the locals to now use to grow their oil palms through monoculture. The company uses chemicals to control their crops and considers what they are doing to be development for the region, although the farmers who live in the middle of it all don’t believe it to be that way. A local man explains that the village chief urged him to sell his land to the company and he hoped to receive some of the profit out of it, but now the land is ruined due to the monoculture and the money he did receive is all gone.  

The video then changes viewpoints towards a local farmer who never sold his land to the company and grows and harvests his own oil palms. The farmer doesn’t use any chemicals only natural techniques that he has learned and his family also helps harvest the oil. The oil palms can produce trees for up to 25 years and the local man says he will be able to harvest the crop until he dies, which will allow him to always provide a source of income for his family. When the family harvests the palm oil fruits, what they don’t use, is then used for a natural fertilizer for their oil palms and other crops growing.

A man who works with the Dutch Palm Oil company helps the local farmers with their business by buying their crops to then produce the palm oils. Since the farmers doesn’t use any chemicals on their oil palms and neither does the company once they buy them off of the farmers, they are able to produce organic oils that are in high demand. The Dutch company buys the palm oil fruits from farmers but also grows their own. The company works with the farmers to help support them with their livelihood, because once the oil palms are planted you have to wait three years for it to produce fruit, and then once you are able to produce the fruit it is a lot of work to harvest it and then sell the produce, and so the company provides aid to the farmers in this process. Although there is always a fear that small locally based companies will be outrun by big corporations, Dutch Palm Oil believes even though they make a fraction of the amount of oil that corporations make, will be able to keep competing against them because of their premium and organic quality they are able to give to their consumers.

This media coverage focuses mainly on the perspective of the local farmers and companies, so you are unable to see from the side of the big corporation who took over the farmers land. It is already known that monoculture farming is causing soil depletion and with that comes harmful effects to the biodiversity of the surrounding environment, and corporations are more focused on profit than the negative outcomes they produce. Palm oils are known to be a main contender of monoculture and many people have tried to cut palm oil out of their diet in hopes of helping the environment and decreasing profits for the corporations. The media coverage around this topic was focused on the local farmers instead of the big businesses because they wanted to show that even though palm oil is known to be bad for the environment, if it is farmed and harvested with proper thinking based around the well-being of the land around them, it can be a sustainable crop and not so detrimental.  

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