Agriculture and nature often clash. The images of palm oil’s rainforest destruction are a devastating example. But what happens when agriculture and nature work in unison?
Jason Crespo, an Ecuadorian oil palm farmer shows us that it is possible. For him environmental protection is an integral part of his work: “I want to have a positive impact on the ecosystem. Save the rainforest and protect it as a refuge where animals can live in peace.”
Our mission is clear: show that palm oil can also be grown for good. And here is how we do it. We visit farmers and let them tell their story. Jason is a third-generation oil palm grower. He is young, charming and has the charisma to lead any venture. But his passion is nature. To him the protection of forests and animals is self-evident. He was raised with that mentality since childhood: “When my grandparents bought this land, forty years ago, they decided to set aside 40% of the land to protect the rainforest that covers it. I inherited that responsibility.”
While the morning sun peeks through the leaves of the trees, and the chattering of the parrots above us imperturbably continues, Jason explains how he combines oil palm farming and rainforest protection. He doesn’t touch the rainforest on his land and has chosen to farm organically to ensure a minimum impact on the ecosystem. This way forests, soil and water sources are not affected, which is crucial for the preservation of flora and fauna: “We people, we depend on the ecosystems that surround us for our survival. I consider it my duty to protect it as best as I can.”
Many people are not aware that palm oil production can also be deforestation-free and wildlife friendly. Many think it is impossible to produce palm oil right, and, as an alternative, look for palm oil free products. Not only will this decision lead to a loss of quality and performance of most of the products that we use daily, it will potentially lead to more environmental destruction. Alternative vegetable oils use more land to produce. Using them to replace palm oil will bring more pressure on land, with devastating impact to forests and nature around the world. Palm oil production in harmony with nature is the only solution.
Products made with organic ingredients are often more expensive than its non-organic alternatives. Some products are simply sold too cheap. You should ask yourself how this is possible and wonder about the hidden costs of making these products. Usually it is nature that carries the burden and the cost is irreversible damage to our ecosystems. Let us learn from Jason, sustainable palm oil production in unison with nature. When you reward the use sustainable palm oil, we create a movement that benefits everyone, including all the species we so desperately want to protect.
Want to know more about how Jason protects the flora and fauna around his plantation? Visit the Palm Done Right YouTube channel and watch this interview with him.
Written by Monique van Wijnbergen, Natural Habitat’s Sustainability & Corporate Communications Director and spokesperson for Palm Done Right.
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