Thursday, February 10, 2011

Palm Oil: How Greenies Threaten Jobs and Food Security

The Malaysian palm oil industry earned a healthy RM60 billion last year. This was an increase of RM 10 billion compared to 2009. Most plantation companies doubled their last quarterly profits compared to the previous year. The income generated by high prices as experienced by the palm oil industry led to rural townships around the country undergoing a mini economic boom. Clearly, the rural population benefited the most from the high prices of palm oil, rubber, cocoa and even pepper which form the major plantation commodities produced in Malaysia.

The economic contribution of palm oil and other plantation commodities provided the assurance of a remunerative source of income and unlimited employment opportunities throughout the year for the people of Malaysia. A day’s work of harvesting oil palm fruits or tapping rubber trees for latex can provide a person with an income of more than US $30. In a country where two meals per day would cost only US $4, such an income is rather remunerative. Nobody should be deprived of a better life or even resort to begging as long as he or she is willing to put in a few hours of work in a day in our oil palm or rubber plantations. Malaysia enjoys almost full employment which also means that labour shortages exist especially in the plantation sector.