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Jakarta Post

Friction and vested interests in pulp and palm oil production

  • Bill Durodié

Jakarta   /   Thu, May 27 2010   /  09:23 am

Campaigns against big pulp and palm oil producers in Indonesia appear to be driven by local activists on the ground. In reality, they are facilitated by huge budgets and shaped by agendas emanating from the West.Pulp and paper production is big business. So too is palm oil. Steady global demand for paper and packaging, combined with increasing interest in bio-fuels and replacement fats for the food industry, have made these some of the largest and fastest-growing industries in Southeast Asia.Indonesia and Malaysia alone, now account for 85 percent of world palm oil production, and their share of the wood, pulp and paper business is rising rapidly too. There are good reasons for this. Aside from access to low-cost labor, the fact is that biomass simply grows faster in the tropics than in North America or Europe.Such developments are not without their problems. Struggles between firms for ...