Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Case of WENGOs Blindly Pushing for Labelling of Palm Oil

Palm oil is a very important commodity for smallhoders to improve their economy in Malaysia I was invited by the Senate Committee on Community Affairs in Canberra, Australia to give a testimony on the mandatory labeling of palm oil proposed under the Truth in Labeling – Palm Oil Bill. It seems that palm oil is now a target not only of Western Environmental NGOs (WENGOs), but also some ambitious Green Politicians of the developed world. On reflection, the WENGOs could be accused of taking the issue too far without thinking how their actions and allegations are un-justified and how these may affect the livelihoods of poor oil palm farmers in developing countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

I would not blame the Green Politicians for their lack of knowledge on the oil palm industry; the utterances that they made to support the Bill in Canberra clearly revealed their ignorance. They claim for example, that palm oil is a ‘fruit’ oil and should not be labeled as a ‘vegetable’ oil. Obviously, the WENGOs have diligently fed their Green Senators with the necessary cannon powder to debate on the Bill, but it was soon pointed out at the hearing that olive oil, produced as a fruit oil in the EU and Australia is also classified internationally as a vegetable oil because it comes from a plant or vegetable source as opposed to animal fats which come from animal sources.