Oil Palm & The Environment
The development of oil palm in Malaysia has been remarkable.
Starting off as ornamental, the crop has developed into a multibillion ringgit industry. In Africa, the plant originally existed wild in the groves and various constraints were faced in the efforts towards domestication. It is in Malaysia that much of the plant's full potential has been exploited. This transformation from the wild to domesticated, where it is grown in neat rows in well-managed plantations, has not been without cost. A lot efforts have gone into understanding this 'new'plant, and the means of fitting it to its new home.
It has been during the development of this plant that more has been learnt about its interaction with the environment. Success in developing the plant in plantations has led to a new challenge in the processing technology.
Again, being the pioneer, Malaysia has had to take the lead of this new endeavour. Technologies both upstream and downstream, including those related to the environment were developed and were continually improved.