Malaysia intends to stop the expansion of palm oil plantations in 2019 in a bid to improve the image of the crop, which has been heavily criticised for its role in the destruction of tropical rainforests. Speaking to Bloomberg ahead of this week’s annual gathering of palm oil producers in Kuala Lumpur, minister of primary industries Teresa Kok said that the Malaysian federal government intends to work with state administrations to slow the advance of the country’s plantations into new territory, and to instead focus on improving productivity and yields on existing areas.
The European Union is currently debating a bill that would classify all palm oil coming from large plantations as unsustainable. Palm oil producing countries are pushing back, and have challenged the EU’s stance through the World Trade Organisation.
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