Sustainable Development Of Oil Palm As The Major Plantation Crop In Malaysia

3752 words - 16 pages

PLP 5003




The oil palm, Elaeis guineensis was brought over to the Bogor Botanic Garden in the Island of Jawa, Indonesia from West Africa in 1848 (Polunin, 2004). It has been planted in almost 43 countries in tropical regions of Southeast Asia, Africa and South America. It was planted in Malaysia in 1896 much later after Indonesia (Yacob, 2005). Now, this crop has ...view middle of the document...

Doubtlessly oil palm is proven to be one of the main drivers of Malaysia’s agriculture sector, contributed about 3.2 percent to the country’s real gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008. Significantly, the role of this industry is not only built economic based, but also to attainment socio-economic objective.
However, rapid expansion of palm oil industry attracts global attention and question on the sustainable of this industry becomes intense debate recently. Debates and negative campaigns on oil palm sustainability are never encountered any endings. The expansion of oil palm plantation area creates impact on the environment, economy and social in either positive or negative manners.

2.1 Economy Implication
In Malaysia, this industry successfully contributed to economy growth, eradicates poverty and provides hundreds of jobs opportunities and improved infrastructure as well as generate towards future development to the nation. As the world’s cheapest edible oil, it is now become the primary cooking oil for many people in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Middle East.
Although Malaysia imposed restriction on opening new area of oil palm plantation in the tropical forest area, these activities still prolonged due to lack of enforcement. Most of the tropical forest had been cleared for timber logs only and in some cases the areas remained implanted with palm trees. As a result, many cleared-forest become useless grassland and vulnerable to loss of soil during heavy rain. NGOs contend the expansion of oil palm plantation in Southeast Asia destroys huge tracts of tropical forest and threatens the survival of many native species while palm oil producers have accused NGOs of unfairly targeting oil palm industry while ignoring the agriculture activities in other regions that also harm the biodiversity (Nature, 2007).

2.2 Social Impact
Oil palm plantation also created a number of adverse social impacts, in particular to displace people and indigenous communities, who are affected by deforestation and changes in land use. In Sabah and Sarawak, some of them still depend on forest and rivers for fishing, hunting and small scale activities. Conversion of forest area into oil palm plantation resulted in drop of fish stock, loss access to forest resources and loss of cropland (AAB Dayang et al, 2011). Deforestation leads to decrease in forest resources such as rattan, herb resources and wild fruits.

2.3 Environmental Effect
Biodiversity loss, deforestation, land conflicts among major agriculture crops climate change and threat to wildlife habitats are among major environmental impact that have been discussed on oil palm development. Therefore, it is undeniable that the development of oil palm cultivation creates impact to the environment, same alike other agriculture crops. One of the reasons is caused by monoculture cultivation practices by the industry. Monoculture is the agricultural practices of growing a single crop or plant species...

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