Fedepalma: facts about palm oil

The Federations seeks to develop a better quality of life for the Colombian farmers

Fedepalma: facts about palm oil

The National Federation of Oil Palm Growers (Fedepalma) is one of the Colombian most important businesses in the agricultural sector. The company, with more than 55 years of experience, has brought development to different forgotten regions of the country.

Fedepalma is made out of small (with more of 93% of the members), medium and big oil palm growers, and is in charge of coordinating an efficient oil production. The oil is used to create countless products and foods. For example: instant soups, frozen food, lipsticks, soaps, shampoos and detergents, among others. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 1 out of 10 articles available in the supermarkets contain oil palm.

The Economic importance for Colombia

Colombia is the main producer of oil palm in the Americas and the fourth producer in the world. People may affirm that the coffee country is also a palm country, because is the producer of the 2% of the oil palm in the world. Just the last year, Colombia produced 1 million 146 thousands tons of oil (for July of 2017, the productions is around 600 thousands tons). The palm crops are an important source of employment for the rural country. In 2011, the World Bank revealed a research that demonstrated that these farms can generate 30 times more of employment per unit of area, than other crops, such as Soy. 

It is an important driver thru peace

At this moment, Colombia is passing through a post conflict period after achieving a peace deal with the Farc guerrilla (the most history and powerful guerrilla in the country). In the agreements, both sides (Government and guerrilla) assured that the rural sector would be vital for the peace consolidation and the non-repetition. The federation is aware of this aspect and has provided the necessary support to the farm workers to help achieving the rural development the country needs.
According to a research of the National Planning Department of Colombia, the towns that were affected by the armed conflict, and are linked to a oil palm economy, have 30% bigger income than other affected regions.

Environmental friendly

According to Fedepalma, the oil palm crops are ecosystem friendlier than much other cultivation. For example, according to a research of the Guelph University (Canada), in Colombia, the palm exploitation doesn't produce deforestation. The study revealed that when the palm crops increase 69.5% between 1989 and 2013, the deforestation linked to this product was 0%. The reason is that91% of the new palm plantations created since 2001, were areas intended to cultivate other products.

Additionally, in 2012, Fedepalma and the United Nations, together with other entities dedicated to the biodiversity conservation, created the "Biodiversidad del panorama de la palma" project. With this program the researchers indentified and registered more than 1000 plant species (some of them with a high conservation value) and more than 90 mammals (28 of them with a HCV) that lived near the palm crops.

However, the most important aspect of the environment is that the palm oil can produce biodiesel 83% to 108% cleaner and less pollutant than the fossil fuels that are responsible of the greenhouse gasses and the climate change.


Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández 

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto