Peru commits to eliminating deforestation for palm oil plantations

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

Getty images
Getty images
As fires continue to rage in Brazil to clear land for farming, Peru has chosen to further protect its rain forests by committing to end deforestation for palm oil by 2021.

The move comes on the decision by Peruvian Palm Oil Producers’ Association (JUNPALMA) to enter into an agreement that will ensure the sustainable and deforestation-free production of palm oil in the future, a move that ties in with global demands and initiatives for sustainable palm oil supplies.

The cosmetics and personal care industry is a major customer for palm oil, which is used in many soap-based products, and has been one of the most proactive industries in the drive to reduce the impact that deforestation for palm oil plantations has on the environment.

Peru follows in Colombia’s footsteps

The agreement with JUNPALMA was made with the US-based National Wildlife Federation, in collaboration with local governments, the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarollo and farmers.

It will make Peru the second country in Latin America to honor such an agreement, following on from one established by farmers and authorities in Colombia, a ground-breaking agreement for the region that was signed in 2017.

The Peru agreement was established at the recent IX Expo Amazonica conference, which was focused on the sustainable development of the Peruvian rain forests in the area.

Agreement favors smaller farmers

If it is success the country will be palm oil deforestation-free, with a focus on developing smaller scale farming that will involve family farms and smaller producers.

“This commitment is a momentous development for the people of Peru and the global effort to confront climate change. It underscores that we can feed the world without hurting biodiversity or clear-cutting tropical forests,”​ said Kiryssa Kasprzyk, who led the National Wildlife Federation’s work.

The agreement has been two years in the making and was signed as a joint declaration between the organizations that also involved government bodies from Norway and Germany.

LATAM palm oil production

Although palm oil production in the Latin American region continues to be dwarfed by the biggest producers, Malayasia and Indonesia, it is a growing industry in a number of countries there.

According to 2018 production figures, Colombia is the fourth biggest producer in the world, producing 1.6 billion tons per year, compared to number one producer Indonesia with 43 billion tons a year.

Peru is currently the 17th​ biggest producer, with a relatively small 193 million tons of palm oil a year, while Guatemala is 6th​ with 852 million tons, Ecuador 7th​ with 630 million tons, Honduras 9th​ with 580 million tons and Brazil 10th​ with 540 million tons.

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