Published on: October 3, 2022
In my previous blog post I positioned sustainably produced palm oil as a ‘next gen palm oil’, compared to the conflict palm oil that makes up the bulk volume globally. And we can innovate further to raise the bar on tropical soil crops. Organic palm is one way to innovate and replace extractive practices and nurture our soils, yet still a niche in the palm oil industry.
I believe in organic. In fact, ‘100% organic’ is the foundation of Palm Done Right.
Natural processes and materials
To explain WHAT 100% organic means we use the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) definition of organic agriculture. According to the USDA it is “using practices that support the recycling of on-farm resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity”.
To protect fragile ecosystems and keep our soils healthy for future generations we will need to move away from the chemical dependency that has been depleting our soils. The beauty of organic farming systems is that it uses natural processes and materials to maintain soil and water quality, to manage pests and weeds, and to conserve biological diversity.
WHY do we care so much about organic? Well, after starting our organic palm production more than twelve years ago, we know from experience that organic practices are essential to securing healthy and resilient ecosystems. It helps clean our water, purify our air, maintain our soil, regulate the climate, recycle nutrients, and provide us with nutrient dense food. Organic agriculture contributes to soil, farmer, worker, and community health. It is a win-win approach.
Supply chain integrity
Moving towards 100% organic will not happen overnight, we must be prepared for the long haul and collaborate with all the actors in the supply chain. Here is what we are doing to facilitate the process in our palm producing areas.
First, we work with farmers. We help conventional palm growers convert to organic production. Initially we concentrated on converting smallholder farms up to 75 hectares. However, in 2018 we started converting larger farms too as we saw the positive impact of moving to organic practices. We have a team of agronomists and technicians on the ground that provides support and trains the farmers that are committed to converting to organic palm production.
Second, we have a dedicate mill to extract our crude palm (kernel) oil. Our production is separate from any conventional processing. Each step after processing takes place in separated supply chains to safeguard the organic integrity of our ingredients and products.
But we cannot scale up organic palm production unless we have markets wiling to pay the premium that a shift to organic agriculture requires. That’s why raising awareness for the importance of organic palm oil is a third focus point to our approach.
Stand with us
Decreasing yields are often cited as a potential danger of moving to organic production, even though we know we can keep productivity up with the right (regenerative) practices and good organic fertilizers. Stand with us to improve soil, farmer, worker, and community health. It’s possible when we all demand palm to be done right.
Palm can be grown for good, bringing benefits to:
Together, we can influence change for: