Palm oil that doesn’t destroy forests? One entrepreneur thinks he has the answer

By Emma Reynolds |

Liberian Mahmud Johnson set up J-Palm aged 22 , to increase yields of sustainable palm oil.

(CNN Business)If you read ingredient labels, you’ll see palm and palm kernel oil everywhere: in bread, chocolate, frozen pizza — even soap, toothpaste and cosmetics. No wonder the oil palm tree, whose fruit and seeds are used to produce these oils, is in tremendous demand as a crop in West and Central Africa and Southeast Asia.

But while the trees are considered a highly productive source of vegetable oil, farming them can carry a heavy environmental impact. As large farms clear land to make room for oil palms, deforestation and forest fires can occur, threatening biodiversity.

Liberian entrepreneur Mahmud Johnson has come up with a possible solution. He is installing milling machines in rural communities to help small local growers increase their yields on wild-growing trees, allowing them to produce the oil more sustainably and to generate enough earnings to stay independent.

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About Cholo Brooks 14907 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.