The French government has rejected a proposed additional tax on palm oil. This is great news for Malaysian palm oil farmers whose livelihood may have been affected by the proposed ‘Nutella Tax’, the beloved chocolate spread which contains Malaysian sustainable palm oil. The government is now considering an additional tax on all vegetable oils used in food production. This new tax may include an exemption for oils that are sustainably produced.
Malaysian Palm Oil Council CEO Yusof Basiron said the vote was a welcome relief for Malaysian palm oil farmers. MPOC believes the tax would put thousands of oil palm farmers out of work. “French MPs have done the right thing rejecting the government’s discriminatory palm oil tax. In rejecting this tax, the National Assembly has publicly shown its support for Malaysian small farmers, and has avoided implementing a palm oil tax that infringes both WTO (World Trade Organization) and EU (European Union) trade rules.”
Malaysian hard-working family farmers
More than 300,000 farmers across Malaysia grow oil palm on small, family plantations. These famers, called smallholders, account for nearly 40 percent of Malaysia’s palm-planted area. The farmers work year-round in Malaysia’s tropical climate to care for their trees and harvest its oil-rich fruit.
Learn more about Malaysian smallholders at www.faceofpalmoil.org.
Palm oil cultivation credited with poverty reduction
Oil palm plantations have helped many families escape poverty. The average Malaysian oil palm smallholder has a monthly income of RM 1,356 (376 U.S. dollars), far above the Malaysian national poverty line of RM 529 (147 U.S. dollars). Malaysian smallholder Amad Sidek explained, “If we were not allowed to plant oil palm, our lives would be very difficult.” Palm oil production has been credited with helping reduce the Malaysia’s poverty rate from 50 percent in 1957 to less than five percent today.