A major move by Landcorp to rid New Zealand farms of rainforest-destroying palm kernel has been welcomed by Greenpeace.
“Greenpeace has been campaigning for seven years for a phase-out of palm kernel expeller (PKE) on New Zealand farms, due to its role in both tropical rainforest destruction and industrial dairying” said Grant Rosoman from Greenpeace. (1)
PKE is a by-product of the palm oil industry, which is the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Indonesia.
“Landcorp’s decision marks a significant turnaround for both the protection of Sth East Asia’s rainforests and for the way New Zealand farms. PKE has been a big part of the intensive dairy model that has failed our rivers, land, climate and farmers.”
“It’s great to see a major player like Landcorp (the country’s largest farmer) turning its back on that model and moving back towards traditional New Zealand pasture-based farming. Next we want to see Fonterra follow suit.”
New Zealand is currently the largest importer of PKE, using about a quarter of the world’s supply each year as supplementary feed for livestock. On some farms, it’s believed to make up nearly 50 percent of cows’ diets.
“It’s not a good look for Kiwi farms to be linked to the destruction of the world’s last remaining rainforests,” said Rosoman.
”As well as climate change impacts, the loss of rainforest habitat is pushing the orang-utan and Sumatran tiger towards extinction – not the sort of thing you want associated with New Zealand food products.”
“We hope that other farmer groups, and key processors such as Fonterra, will follow suit and phase out PKE from use on New Zealand farms.”
In August 2009 a team from Greenpeace New Zealand travelled to Indonesia to document the destruction being done by the palm industry there. Later the same year Greenpeace stopped a shipment of palm kernel entering Tauranga, and painted a message on the side of another palm kernel ship in New Plymouth.
In September 2010, Greenpeace returned to Indonesia to gather evidence of how the palm industry was opening up new frontiers of destruction. This evidence was later delivered directly to Fonterra’s headquarters in Auckland, and to politicians in Wellington.
In 2010 Greenpeace released a spoof Fonterra milk TV ad that went viral gaining over 250,000 views on youtube The ad connected Fonterra milk with the death of orangutan in Indonesian rainforests cleared for palm plantations.