October 16 is World Food Day, a day of action against hunger. Sadly, one in nine people on this planet don’t have enough food to lead a healthy, active life. The Malaysian palm oil industry is helping to satisfy the need for world food security by providing millions of people with nutritious, affordable and sustainable palm oil.
World Food Day honors the October 16, 1945 formation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This United Nations agency leads international efforts to reduce hunger. First established in 1979, World Food Day is now observed in almost every country.
Having enough safe, nutritious food for every person on the planet – food security – is an increasing concern. During the 20th century, the world’s population ballooned from 1.6 billion to more than six billion. Today, it is nearly 7.5 billion. This tremendous growth comes with a concern: Can we produce enough wholesome food without harming our environment? Malaysia is doing its part by producing generous quantities of non-GMO Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil. Through conscientious production, Malaysia is helping to meet the world’s rising oil and fat needs without putting additional stress on our planet.
Palm oil cultivation helps feed the world with less environmental impact
Palm oil comes from the fruit of the oil palm tree, a majestic beauty that grows for nearly 25 years. Researchers say perennial crops help feed our world with significantly less environmental impact. Because of their extensive root system, perennial crops minimize erosion. They also require less water than annual plants and help create a stable ecosystem. The FAO praises perennial food crops because they require less fertilizer, which also supports a healthy water system.
Perennial crops also provide an environment where native animals can thrive, without fear of their habitat being destroyed for annual replanting. The FAO says 40 percent of vegetable cooking oils, such as olive oil and Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil, already come from perennials.
Palm oil cultivation is smart land use
Oil palm trees are incredibly high yielding. And thanks to Malaysia’s equatorial climate, the trees bear fruit year-round. Oil palm plantations produce significantly more oil than annual crops, such as corn, soybean and canola. A single acre of oil palm produces 11 times more oil than soybeans, and 10 times more than sunflower. Of the major oil crops, oil palm occupies the least land, but produces the most oil. Research is also underway to improve this already astonishing yield, enabling Malaysia to increase production without additional demands on land.