In the last years, Colombia, once only known for news related to the narcos, has undertaken concrete reforms to revive the country. One of the many Colombian success stories of the last decade is, undoubtedly, the palm oil industry.
To date, Colombia is the largest palm oil producer in Latin America and the fourth in the world – only behind the big Southeast Asian producers – with 2% of global production. The growth of the industry can be easily pictured with one simple data: + 42% in production levels from 2016 to 2017.
As far as palm oil is concerned, the country is distinguishing itself not only from a quantitative point of view, but also from an ethical one. The agreement between the FARC (Armed Forces of the Colombian Revolution) and the government of Bogotá in 2016 allowed to demilitarize and recover a vast amount of land that guerrillas used for the cultivation of coca. The government, by promoting legal crops through tax cuts and financial aid, significantly stimulated the palm oil industry that was able to take advantage of ‘free’ land.
The country’s unique socio-cultural heritage has given local producers 43 million hectares of agricultural frontiers, uncultivated for more than 80%. In other words, there has been no contribution to the phenomenon of deforestation, allowing the percentage of sustainable palm oil to grow by double-digit figures between 2013 and 2017.
There are about 6,000 Colombian palm oil producers – 84% representing Colombian small and medium-sized enterprises. In the face of those who say that there are only the interests of the evil multinationals behind this ingredient! This sector, on the other hand, provides a job to more than 160 thousand people. A major victory in the battle against the hypocrisy of those who would like to deprive developing countries of the means to defeat poverty and spread welfare among citizens.
Palm oil is not only the most sustainable cultivation – as we have mentioned several times – but it gives the chance to countless women and men to find their own dimension in the development process and increase their well-being. This happens at all latitudes. Colombia is on the right path.