We see it in almost every product, but what is palm oil? Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil made from oval fruits of up to 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) that grow on oil palm trees (Elaeis guineensis). These trees are planted in areas near the equator and their stems can reach 20 meters (66 feet) high and their leaves 5 meters (16.40 feet) long. The fruits of the oil palm tree are harvested throughout the year where each tree is capable of producing around 40 kilograms of palm oil each year. About 73 million tons of palm oil is produced each year being the oleaginous crop that offers the highest yield per hectare of land. It would be needed 4 to 10 times more land to produce the same amount of other oils. EPOA recognizes the importance of palm oil both for its great diversity of uses and for the socio-economic development it offers to refiners and producers.
A fruit full of advantages
Palm oil is used by a wide variety of food and non-food manufacturers because of its semi-solid consistency and long-term stability. It can also withstand high temperatures without evaporating, giving fried products a crispy and crunchy texture. The lack of odor and color makes it the perfect ingredient because it does not alter the look and smell of food products. It can be found in more than half of the products in the supermarket such as sauces, dressings, pasta, powdered milk, cakes, ice cream, and snacks but also in shampoos, body lotions, and cleaning products.
EPOA: A sustainable and environmentally friendly partnership
Palm oil producing countries must adopt processes that allow them to supply the high demand and protect the environment at the same time. EPOA’s mission is to promote sustainable and environmentally friendly production through a partnership between all actors in this ecosystem. Working together with the private sector, NGOs and government, EPOA seeks to foster a global awareness that palm oil is a vital ingredient to help feed the world while promoting socio-economic development in many countries. Sustainable production is possible and necessary to promote the adoption of processes throughout the supply chain that ensure not only a quality product but also an environmentally friendly one. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognizes that palm oil is important for global food security and economic development.