Malaysian small farmers take action
Malaysia’s small oil palm farmers have combined forces to contest another EU attempt to ban palm oil biofuels. A new campaign has released a digital advertisement to appear across Europe in December, to reject an unjust and discriminatory move to ban palm oil biofuels under the Renewable Energy Directive.
The ban would sentence 3.2 million Malaysians to renewed poverty, noted Faces of Palm Oil, a grouping of agencies that advocate the cause of oil palm smallholders. It comprises the National Association of Smallholders (NASH), Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA), Dayak Oil Palm Planters Association (DOPPA) and the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.
Faces of Palm Oil demands that the European Council rejects the proposal of the European Parliament, and reaffirms Europe’s commitment to Southeast Asia, Malaysia and small oil palm farmers.
NASH president Dato’ Haji Aliasak Haji Ambia said: “Palm oil has allowed us, the rural poor, to develop our own land, lift ourselves and our families out of poverty, and take control of our own economic destiny. A ban on palm oil biofuels would be an all-out assault against the hundreds of thousands of small farmers across Malaysia. The EU will force farmers back into poverty if it bans palm oil.
“NASH and Malaysia’s small farmers will not stand by while Europeans sell commercial products to Malaysians on the one hand, and cut our economic lifeline on the other. It is unacceptable behaviour: the move to ban palm oil biofuels must be stopped immediately.”
FELDA chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad said: “The proposed ban is discriminatory and must be removed. The 112,635 FELDA small farmers and their families demand clear and direct clarification from the EU that palm oil biofuels will not be banned. The Malaysian palm oil industry is an economic lifeline for small farmers; it has lifted their families from poverty to prosperity. I will continue to defend their interests and ensure justice for them in the global markets.”
SALCRA chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said: “It is unacceptable that European politicians are preparing to put at risk the prosperity, safety and health of 3.2 million Malaysians. Tens of thousands of SALCRA small farmers and their rural communities will suffer if the EU bans palm oil biofuels. We will not allow this to happen.”
DOPPA president Dr Richard Mani said: “Indigenous peoples in Malaysia will suffer if the EU bans palm oil biofuels. Indigenous communities have used palm oil to lift ourselves and our families out of poverty, and build new hope for the future. The EU proposal puts all of that at risk and undermines the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. On behalf of the Dayak planters of Malaysian Borneo, I urge the European Council to abandon this cruel and heartless plan that will only bring poverty back to Malaysia.”
Source: Faces of Palm Oil, edited press release, Dec 19, 2017