Palm Done Right means going beyond the standard.
Industrial palm plantations use conventional growing methods. With a primary focus on cost savings and high volume, they rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, and heavy machinery for planting and harvesting.
This creates a vicious cycle, where fertilizers contaminate water sources, increase the salinity of the soil and kill off micronutrients, requiring more and more fertilizer for plants to grow. Pesticides kill not only pests, but beneficial insects as well, requiring more and more powerful pesticides.
Not only is this detrimental to the soil and the ecosystem, but more and more evidence is showing that these chemicals have negative effects on our health, too.
Compare Palm Done Right
In contrast, Palm Done Right farmers grow palm oil organically and sustainably using organic farming practices. By definition, growing organically means growing without synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.
But it’s much more than that.
Those farmers who grow palm oil organically and sustainably with organic farming practices become stewards of the land and soil, rather than takers from it.
Palm Done Right combines experience and wisdom from indigenous cultures with the technical know-how of professional agronomists to empower farmers with the knowledge, support and resources they need to grow organically.
Organic and sustainable farming practices used for Palm Done Right include:
- Cultivating diverse, non-commercial crops to attract beneficial insects
- Planting leguminous (i.e. “nitrogen fixing”) cover crops to nurture the soil and provide “green compost”
- Multi-cropping for both biodiversity and economic stability
- Reusing palm leaves and cuttings for mulch and compost to naturally increase the soil’s carbon content
- Collecting gray water through drainage systems to reuse elsewhere on the farm
- Opting for non-fossil fuel run equipment and transportation—like mules and oxen—as much as possible
- Using empty palm bunches as fuel for the processing of the palm oil or as a nutrient-rich mulch
There’s More to Multi-Cropping
Multi-cropping—in the case of palm, interplanting with other crops such as passionfruit, cacao or pineapple—increases the biodiversity of the land. Each plant’s root system, nutritional “footprint” and insect attraction profile benefits the other, making a healthier whole. In West Africa, small oil palm plots, typically 2-4 hectares, neighbor plots on which cocoa, citrus, cassava and maize are grown, promoting the area’s biodiversity.
Multi-cropping helps the farmer economically too. Additional crops give farmers a supplemental source of income, and can help to even out cash flow depending on how fast a crop yields and when it produces.