Greens call on government to ban palm oil by-products

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The Green Party wants the government to ban imports of palm oil by-products.

Specifically, the party wants to stop imports of palm kernel expeller (PKE) and palm kernel meal, which are produced during the refining process and are commonly used as a complementary feed on dairy farms.

The call came after more than 100 countries pledged to protect and restore forests around the world.

The manufacture of PKE contributes to the illegal and unsustainable destruction of the rainforest and to climate change. It then contributes more to climate change due to its use in intensive dairy farming, Green Pary MP Teanau Tuiono said.

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New Zealand is the world’s largest importer of PKE.

Tuiono said if New Zealand signed global climate pacts, it was important to make sense of those commitments. The ban on PKE would demonstrate this.

“Previous governments allowed the importation of PKE to continue unabated, which not only contributed to the destruction of tropical rainforests to create palm plantations, but also prompted livestock farms to feed a more cows than locally grown feed sources can provide – which has contributed massively to the climate crisis.

Teanau Tuiono says banning PKE would show significant commitment to ending deforestation.

ROBERT KITCHIN / Tips

Teanau Tuiono says banning PKE would show significant commitment to ending deforestation.

Last week, Greenpeace Indonesia alleged that Fonterra was profiting from illegal palm oil plantations because it said its supplier, Wilmar International, had illegal plantings inside Indonesian national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

Prem Maan, executive chairman of Southern Pastures, the investment company that owns Lewis Road Creamery, said the decision not to use PKE on his farms was primarily aimed at protecting biodiversity. But PKE has also affected the quality of dairy products, he said.

Greenpeace alleges that at least 50,000 hectares of palm oil plantations in Indonesia are inside protected areas.

Ulet Ifansasti / Getty Images

Greenpeace alleges that at least 50,000 hectares of palm oil plantations in Indonesia are inside protected areas.

“If you feed a cow a lot of PKE, it changes the composition of the butter, for example. “

The other benefit of the absence of PKE was the overall reduction in its transport carbon footprint.

“Either we grow the extra food we need or we support other local farmers. I don’t think it’s up to us to tell other farmers what to do and whether there should be a blanket ban, but our decision was a moral decision that works for us, and it also improves the quality of the dairy products that we let’s produce.

Federated Farmers chairman Wayne Langford said there was no point in banning palm oil by-products without banning palm oil itself, which was widely used in food processing.

Prem Maan, Managing Director of Southern Pastures, says he does not use PKE on his farms because it is not environmentally friendly and it negatively affects the quality of the milk.

Provided

Prem Maan, Managing Director of Southern Pastures, says he does not use PKE on his farms because it is not environmentally friendly and it negatively affects the quality of the milk.

“It would mean a pretty big change in the variety of products on our supermarket shelves, so from my perspective if you were to ban one you would ban the other.”

Although he did not use it on his own farm, the industry leaned on market signals. Right now, no market has said they want milk without PKE, but as the industry moves more towards the pursuit of the premium dollar, farmers may voluntarily give up or use less.

A ban would mean farmers would turn to corn, grass silage and grains like wheat and barley, Langford said.

“It would definitely be a change from the systems currently in place. But we have already cultivated without it and we could again. “

Bruce Thorrold, head of strategy and investment at Dairy NZ, said it was a byproduct of palm oil refining with nutritional value, which could play an important role in farms, and did not support a ban on its use.

New Zealand dairy farms were unique in the world, as pasture-based systems with cows grazing outdoors year-round and receiving most of their food from grass.

“In general, careful use of PKE is helpful in ensuring continuity of food supply, especially during floods and droughts which often cause food shortages. “


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