The controversies of oil palm Providing a balanced view for a sustainable future

One of the world’s most important crops is also one of its most controversial. Oil palm is used in countless products in our daily lives – food, cosmetics, biodiesel and so on – but its success has polarized views.

Some see it as a major poverty alleviation tool and others as an environmental disaster. This black-and-white thinking risks missing opportunities to manage oil palm in a way that grows the economy, alleviates poverty and benefits the environment.

CIFOR scientists have been separating fact from fiction to provide a balanced view, one that countries can use to grow the benefits and eliminate the costs of this wonder crop.

Palms of Controversies: Oil palm and development changes
Co-authored by CIFOR scientist Patrice Levang, the printed book sold out in one and a half months (but we published a freely available version online).

Designing a sustainable future for oil palm
Our scientists are collaborating with Cameroon’s Ministry of Agriculture to draft a sustainable strategy for oil palm. We’ve also investigated if and how oil palm can drive economic development and poverty reduction in rural parts of Indonesia.


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