So I work in Tropical Agriculture, sounds great doesn’t it, how about I work in the Palm Oil Industry? All turn away in shock with images of homeless Orangutans, burning forests and drying peat bogs.
It’s a complicated issue and to be honest, it’s too complicated for me to try deal with it all right now. All I can talk about is what I know and what I have experienced and really this blog will just be trying to give people an idea about the everyday life on a Palm Oil Plantation in Papua New Guinea. Through this blog I want to help show that Palm Oil can be a sustainable product that is produced ethically. I hope what I write will be of interest to people interested in the what we eat, how this affects our environment, what it is like to work as a Expat in the tropics and give people some insight into the beautiful country of Papua New Guinea.
I work on the island of New Britain for New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL) who have, since 2008, been certified by the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) both for our own plantations and for all those small holders who also supply our mills. We have now also just received Rainforest Alliance certification through the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SANS) this means that end products using our Palm Oil will be able to bear the Rainforest Alliance “Green Frog” that you might have seen on some chocolates or coffee.
NBPOL control the quality of their Palm Oil by managing the entire process from before the seed is planted until the oil is refined and ready for market. We have our own Palm research department that are constantly working to improve yields through new progeny, these seeds are then grown in one of our nurseries before planting out, after this the plantation work comes, just like any other crop it involves fertilising, weeding and harvesting. The harvested crop is then sent to one of our 10 mills after which is either shipped as Crude Palm Oil or is refined further at one of our refineries either on West New Britain or in Liverpool, England. NBPOL only handle fruit that they have grown themselves or from one of the many certified small holder blocks. As such the sustainable credentials of our product are fully traceable making the company world leaders in sustainable Palm Oil.
So that’s a short intro to who I work for.
What I do is manage a small plantation with about 300 workers and it is my job to make sure the palms and the people are cared for and that the crop makes it to the mill and through this blog I want to tell you about it.