This post was originally published on July 8, 2015 and updated on July 28, 2020.
During the 20th century, the world’s population ballooned from 1.6 billion to more than six billion. Today, it’s topped seven billion. With this tremendous growth, having enough safe, nutritious food for each person – food security – is an increasing concern. An additional concern: Can we produce enough food without harming our environment? There is a Southeast Asian country that is tackling this issue. Malaysia helps feed the world by producing generous quantities of the most land-efficient edible oil. Malaysian sustainable palm oil is helping to meet the world’s rising oil and fat needs without putting stress on our planet.
The United Nations defines food security as, ‘when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.’ It’s a serious concern as poor nutrition causes nearly half of all deaths in children less than five years old.
Because of Malaysia’s equatorial climate, it can grow oil palm. This fertile tree produces abundant supplies of nutritious fruits year-round. Because of this high yield, it produces 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. Being a perennial tree crop, the supply of palm oil is reliable, and not as easily affected by weather and other agricultural issues.
Non-GMO palm oil is also the world’s first sustainable oil. Plantations minimize their pesticide use by using integrated pest management techniques and recycle biomass for fertilizer. The Malaysian government and its palm oil industry are committed to conservation and have strict policies in place to ensure responsible agricultural practices. Their goal is to meet the world’s demand for sustainable palm oil for generations to come.
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