Malaysian Small Farmers: Iceland’s Actions Colonial; Reminiscent of Britain’s Dark Past

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 11 April 2018 – Malaysia’s small farmers denounce the actions of UK supermarket Iceland, which plans to remove Palm Oil from its own-brand products.

Dato’ Haji Aliasak Bin Haji Ambia, President of National Association of Small Holders (NASH) Malaysia, made the following statement:

“Iceland through this action longs for the dark days of Britain’s Colonial past where they tell us what to do from Britain, while at the same time taking away our incomes and our ability to feed our families. This announcement is disrespectful and without any basis in fact.  Malaysian Palm Oil is sustainable, unlike the rapeseed and sunflower oil they will now be using. Iceland should be ashamed that their new policy will take food off the plates of our communities.”

This is a Colonial-Era policy, enacted by a company clearly living in the wrong century.

Rapeseed and sunflower oil are grown largely in rich countries in Europe. Palm Oil is grown in developing countries: its major producers are all in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Iceland is taking money away from the poor farmers in Africa & Asia, to give to the rich agri-corporations in Britain and Europe. There is a name for this: Colonialism.

Iceland’s flimsy claims on environment are easily disproved. The latest EU research proves that Palm Oil is not a major factor in global deforestation. In fact, livestock (beef) accounts for 10 times more deforestation than Palm Oil. Soy accounts for more than double. Rapeseed uses five times the amount of pesticides compared to Palm Oil; sunflower uses 4 times more land to produce the same amount of oil.

No sign of Iceland attacking these commodities, which are grown and produced in rich countries in the West. Double standards: one rule favouring rich countries; another rule discriminating against poorer countries. There is a name for this: Colonialism.

Iceland’s Managing Director, Richard Walker, filmed a video in Borneo, in which he claims his own moral superiority whilst ignoring the facts on the ground. This is not surprising.  His actions literally take money out of the pocket of poor communities. Lecturing people in Asia from your moral high-horse overlooking the Thames, whilst taking away their incomes and livelihoods. There is a name for this: Colonialism.