Have you heard of palm oil?  How about vegetable oil or olive oil?  Oils from plants, vegetables, seeds and nuts have been used for centuries all over the world for many different foods and products, so what makes palm oil such a controversial product?

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Should we Stop Using Palm Oil?

With all these negative impacts on the environment, should people stop using palm oil altogether? It’s not actually as simple as that.

Palm oil provides an income for millions of people and allows them to afford food, medical care and education for their children. Palm oil makes up about 10% of all Indonesian exports and 5% of Malaysia’s, making it their most important agricultural export. Millions of people’s livelihoods are dependent on this business.

Palm oil is also a very efficient crop, because both the fruit and the stone of the tree can be used to make oil. The trees also grow well in many types of soil and they are evergreen, producing fruits all year round. As a result, an oil palm plantation is up to ten times more productive than the same amount of space would be if producing a different vegetable oil such as rapeseed, or soy. While only 5% of the world's vegetable oil farmland is used for palm plantations, palm cultivation produces 38% of the world's total vegetable oil supply.

This means that, if people were to stop using palm oil, they would soon move on to using a less efficient oil, which would take even more farmland to grow in big enough quantities!

Read More: What can be Done to Improve the Situation?

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