French MPs voted last week on an additional tax on palm oil. This tax will harm the lives and livelihoods of over 300,000 small farmers in Malaysia for whom oil palm cultivation is an essential lifeline.
Dato’ Haji Aliasak Haji Ambia, President of the National Association of Smallholders Malaysia (NASH) said:
“This tax is unfair, unjustified and discriminatory towards millions of small farmers worldwide. In Malaysia, today, more than one million people would be affected by this damaging new tax. Palm oil is a lifeline for smallholders: it enables them to provide prosperity for their families and communities, lifting them out of poverty.
“The French Government claims to be a friend of the developing world: but this new tax will hurt millions of small farmers and local communities who depend on palm oil. The proposed tax in the French National Assembly is a tax on poor people and a tax on small farmers.”
The social, economic and environmental benefits of palm oil have been recognized across the developing world, with Malaysia as a world-recognized model for smallholder development. 40 per cent of Malaysia’s oil palm is owned or managed by small farmers. Palm oil is one of the most successful poverty alleviation tools in Malaysia, helping to reduce the country’s poverty rate from 50 per cent after independence, to less than 5 per cent today.