Farmers challenge Fonterra's use of palm animal feed

Press release - September 9, 2009
Concerns expressed by Greenpeace over Fonterra’s links to deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia and the threat those links pose to New Zealand’s clean, green reputation have been echoed by Federated Farmers.

Greenpeace is calling on John Key to stop the imports of palm kernel animal feed into New Zealand and on the Indonesian Government to implement an immediate moratorium on forest and peatland destruction for the sake of climate stability, biodiversity and to protect indigenous people's land rights.

Senior Federated Farmers Grain and Seed chairman Ian Morten (an equity partner of a 1,600 herd dairy farm) stated in yesterday's Dairy News: "I think the use of PKE seriously threatens Fonterra's credibility as a supplier of a clean, green type product. Why risk the value of your brands for it? Why risk the rest of New Zealand agriculture for it?"

The paper also stated that the Feds' Grains section is taking its concerns to Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister David Carter.

"It is clear that important members of Federated Farmers have grasped the bigger ramifications posed to New Zealand's clean, green reputation through Fonterra's involvement and promotion of unsustainable palm kernel animal feed."

An expose two weeks ago in the Sunday Star Times implicated Fonterra in rainforest destruction.

"Fonterra seems to think that it's okay to profit from illegal and immoral rainforest destruction. This speaks volumes about Fonterra's lack of corporate values and its disregard for our clean green brand," said Greenpeace New Zealand's Senior Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer.

"PKE is a nasty product every step of the way. Millions of hectares of Indonesian and Malaysian rainforest are being destroyed to grow palm, releasing vast quantities of greenhouse gases in the process. Huge amounts of palm based feed are being used as a supplementary feed for New Zealand's increasing intensive dairy sector," said Boxer.

Most of the PKE that comes into New Zealand will be used by Fonterra's dairy farmers, who are shareholders in the cooperative. Fonterra also has direct links with the PKE supply chain through its half-owned subsidiary RD1. RD1 has a joint venture to import PKE with Wilmar International, one of the world's worst rainforest destroyers.

Last year New Zealand imported 1.1 million tonnes of PKE, one quarter of the world's production, at a cost of around $317 million. (1)

Other contacts: Simon Boxer, Greenpeace New Zealand Senior Climate Campaigner 021 905 579 Phil Crawford, Greenpeace New Zealand communications and media 021 229 9594

Notes: (1) Statistics New Zealand Palm Kernel Expeller imports and costs

Exp. contact date: 2009-10-09 00:00:00