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Understanding Vermicomposting

Discuss about the Use Of Vermicomposting In Organic Farming.

In order to develop a good understanding about the background of the problem, information has been gathered from the existing scientific literature on the palm oil. The information that is gathered is relevant for understanding how the earlier researches have defined the issues and problems of palm oil related to sustainability. Furthermore, the other information are gathered through various research tools such as journal articles and internet.

The aim of his report is to identify and analyze the impact of palm oil production in the world. Several issues are revolving around the production of palm oil. It is widely accepted that the palm oil is highly beneficial in many ways. It is used in several kinds of products and is in high demand by the brands that need it. There is high demand of palm oil products among the consumers as well. The developing countries today that are manufacturing and producing the palm oil needs to develop their economies and depend on the revenue. Hence, here raises the question that

  1. Whether or not the citizen of the developing countries is benefited directly from the generated profit of the palm oil production?
  2. Is there enough palm oil to meet this huge demand?
  3. Is there any alternative for the palm oil?
  4. Has the Scientific Community found a replacement or more efficient way to grow and produce the oil with less impact on the environment?

Due to high market for palm oil among the people, the cultivation of palm oil has enlarged largely in the last ten years than any other crop.  However, there are few adverse affects of this plantation expansion, which is required to set against the positive properties of this flourishing commodity. The changes related to the land use that it entails as well as the deriving environmental affects have therefore engaged many debate among the public, scientists and the policy makers and this has resulted in the formation of clear grounds for depreciating the production of palm oils. It has been observed that the production of palm oil has resulted in loss of rainforest, emission of carbon dioxide and violation of human rights.

Fig. 1 The development of the palm oil production areas from different production groups in Indonesia (Brandi et al. 2012)

As the oil palms are cultivated mainly in the tropical climate,  a large area of rainforests are deforested in order to make a path for the palm trees, which emits a quite amount of greenhouse gases that are released as an outcome of slash-and-burn. This problem is acute in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, which produces about 85% of the world’s total palm oil. In the year 2015, near about 1.7 million hectares of the rainforest were felled only for the cultivation of oil palm (Paltseva, Searle and Malins 2016). Due to shortage of uncultivated in South-East Asia, the investors and the companies of palm oil are increasingly shifting to the West Africa and Latin America. Due to the destruction of rainforest, palm oil is playing a vital role in the global extinction of species. Species such as Orang-utan are under the threat as well. Various researchers have found that the demolition of virgin forest and constant fragmentation is creating a catastrophic consequence for the bats. Not only is the diversity of species, in fact, the genetic diversity within a particular species also at threat (Cadotte, Albert and Walker 2013).  The destruction of rainforest s  also resulting in the increase of constituency of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as for making way for the plantation of palm oil, the forests are cleared by the slash-and-burn. The NASA experts had identified that in the year 2015 and that too between the months of August and October, these fires have released near about 600 million tones of greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere.  This is conversely affecting the heath of the human being as well. The reports from the Indonesian plantation areas have revealed that the production of palm oil often demands for violation of human rights on a large scale, in the form of conflicts (over land), social injustice, bad working conditions etc. The plantation workers had to live on the plantation areas with their family, with no contact with the outside world. As a result, the children belonging from these families do not get access to proper education and the workers too receive very low wages. According to the human rights commission of Indonesia, about 30% of the 5000 cases based on the violation of human rights were related to palm oil cultivation (Li 2017). 

Benefits of Vermicomposting in Organic Farming

The three pillars of sustainability as discussed by Hansmann, Mieg & Frischknecht (2012), are the development of environmental, economic and social issues. The relation between these three pillars was developed at the very beginning of the nineties. These three dimensions are the key aspects for suitability.

Fig. 2 the three pillars for Sustainable development (Hansmann et al., 2012)

The issue of the sustainability of palm oil could also be applied to these pillars and it shows both the advantages as well as disadvantages with this commodity. Palm oil is considered to have a positive socio-economic affect on the production nations and is also a tool for the development of rural areas (Brandi et al. 2012). There are numerous advantages of palm oil such as, a long life period as a everlasting source, high yield per one hectare, and numerous application areas. With the same, the disadvantages related to it as mentioned earlier are the reduction of biodiversity, increase of the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and conflicts based on land rights. From the literature review, these areas could be eminent from different sources- social, economic and environmental (Tincliffe and Webber 2012)

Finding out alternatives for palm oil is not an easy task. Palm oil is one among the most globally used vegetable oils. It is used in varieties of products ranging from shampoos, cooking oils, icings, noodles, biscuits, household cleaning products, cosmetics to crackers. However, the various negative affects surrounding the palm oil is now one of the most debated topic among the researchers and the scientists are therefore finding for a better and more improved alternative for palm oil. Hence, the alternative to the palm oil faces problems as they have dissimilar properties and technical qualities than the palm oil. Teoh (2012) has mentioned that the proponents of the palm oil frequently highlights that the major alternatives, soy, sunflower, and rapeseed oil, only have the production efficiencies as high as that of palm oil, i.e. 10-20%. Hence, there is a need for more land for the production of same amount of oil. Nilsson (2013) has presented that in order to produce the same amount of oil as palm oil from the same area of 9.2 hectares, 92.5 hectares of land is required for the production of soybean oil. Furthermore, According to Ali, Al-Hattab and Al-Hydary (2015), the transformation of oils and fats into bio-fuel, could be observed as an attempt that would give a way to the palm oil. In order to keep a good revenue for the soybean oils, the chemical pesticides, easy solvable phosphorus and artificial fertilizers of nitrogen are required (Lim et al. 2015). This use of these products creates other issues, for both the human and the environment. Coconut oil, Avocado oil, and Olive oil are some of the alternatives that could be used in place of palm oils. However, not all the benefits provided by the palm oil would be provided by them but still, the production and cultivation of these resources  are not as harmful as that the palm oil.  These oils have passed the hurdles of technical feasibility but still, there are few challenges present in terms of acceptability, affordability, and sustainability. In addition, the heterotrophic algal oil can also be considered as an alternative for the same but still, the question rests about their viability.

Conclusion

Hence, based on the above results and discussion it can be concluded that palm oil has a great impact on the environment as well as on the human health. The expansion of areas for the use of palm oil plantation must be reduced and the focus must be on expanding the yield rather than the land use. Also, It would be favorable to turn more self-sufficient in order to attain a more environmental responsible industry of palm oil. Furthermore, Sustainability is elucidated diversely in between the people of the palm oil industry. The scientific community has presented their views on the negative impact of palm oil production and has suggested different alternatives too but they are still not viable enough as each of the alternatives have some or the other negative aspect. However, the use of coconut oil as a replacement to the palm oil would work.

References

Ali, M.A., Al-Hattab, T.A. and Al-Hydary, I.A., 2015. Extraction of date palm seed oil (Phoenix Dactylifera) by Soxhlet apparatus. International Journal of Advances in Engineering & Technology, 8(3), p.261.

Brandi, C. , Cabani T., Hosang, C., Schirmbeck, S., Westermann, L. and Wiese, H. 2012. Sustainability certification in the Indonesia palm oil sector – Benefits and challenges for smallholders, Bonn: Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) / German Development Institute. Briefing paper.

Cadotte, M., Albert, C.H. and Walker, S.C., 2013. The ecology of differences: assessing community assembly with trait and evolutionary distances. Ecology letters, 16(10), pp.1234-1244.

Hansmann, R., Mieg, H.A. and Frischknecht, P. 2012. Principal sustainability components: empirical analysis of synergies between the three pillars of sustainability. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 19, (5): 451-459.

Li, T.M., 2017. After the land grab: Infrastructural violence and the “Mafia System” in Indonesia's oil palm plantation zones. Geoforum.

Lim, S.L., Wu, T.Y., Lim, P.N. and Shak, K.P.Y., 2015. The use of vermicompost in organic farming: overview, effects on soil and economics. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 95(6), pp.1143-1156.

Nilsson, S., 2013. Palm oil-towards a sustainable future?: Challanges and opportunites for the Swedish food industry.

Paltseva, J., Searle, S. and Malins, C., 2016. Potential for advanced biofuel production from palm residues in Indonesia. International Council on Clean Transportation https://www. theicct. org/sites/default/files/publications/ICCT_palm% 20residues_2016. pdf.

Teoh, C.H., 2012. Key sustainability issues in the palm oil sector. A discussion paper for multi-stakeholders consultations (Commissioned by the World Bank Group).

Tincliffe, H. and Webber, D. 2012. Orangutans, deforestation and the problem of palm oil. The Chemical Engineer, (858), 24-25.

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