Campaign in France and Belgium
December, 2015 in Issue 4 - 2015
Mr Carl Bek-Nielsen, Vice-Chairman of United Plantations Bhd
In fact, across the world, the increasing demands of a growing population and changing diets have compelled farmers to grow more crops, resulting in conversion of forests for agriculture – be this in France, Brazil the US or in Malaysia. But the important aspect today is to try and create a better balance between economy and ecology, thus arriving at a common ground where conservation means development as much as it does protection.
Yes, we in Malaysia are far from perfect but we wish to maintain that important balance, so that present and future generations can progress without undermining the benefits of having a rich environment. We have to work more on this and I can assure you that there is an ambition to do so.
Just consider this – to produce 1 tonne of vegetable oil, the oil palm only needs to occupy 0.26 ha, whereas rapeseed needs 1.52 ha and soybean needs 2.22 ha. So the agricultural footprint required to produce the same amount of oil is almost 6 to 8.5 times more for rapeseed and soybean. But more can be done and we are intent on producing more with less and targeting to reach only 0.15 ha to make 1 tonne of oil in the near future.
We are not perfect, nor do we claim to be. This campaign is not about claiming to be perfect: it is to shed more light on an important agricultural crop and to create awareness, so that myths can be overcome and a more balanced approach taken by the French consumer – so he or she can judge for themselves and make informed decisions based on facts and not emotional rhetoric.