Preparing a new generation of oil palms to take over from the trees planted in 1989 when the plantation was first established.  The green area on the left was planted a few months earlier.  With 2.5 meters of annual rainfall, and abundant tropical sunlight, the ground covers emerges rapidly.

Oil palms have approximately 25 years of peak productivity, and cultivation and harvest is very labor intenisive.  

Improved strains of palm varieties has led to producitvity gains of about 20% over the last twenty years.

Palm Oil

  —  View Story

As the world’s the rapidly expanding economies increase their consumption of processed foods, they are creating an explosive demand for palm oil. It is an inexpensive component in a wide variety of processed foods, such as margarine, potato chips, baby formula, cookies, and chocolate. Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil grower, has increased production by 700% over the last twenty years, which has resulted in large scale clear-cutting of tropical rainforest. Although the destruction of rainforest for palm oil plantations is illegal in Indonesia, the practice continues and threatens diminishing populations of forest elephants, rhinos, tigers, and orangutans. George spent three weeks on assignment for Vogue in Sumatra and Malaysia looking at palm oil production, illegal deforestation, and wildlife rehabilitation.

View Story