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Oil palm cultivation in the Americas: review of the social, economic and environmental conditions of its expansion

Lesage C., Cifuentes-Espinosa J.A., Feintrenie L.. 2021. Cahiers Agricultures, 30 : 12 p..

DOI: 10.1051/cagri/2021015

In the Americas, the palm oil sector has been gaining importance in the last 20 years. Although in 2018 the region only accounted for 7.1% of global palm oil production, it is one of the largest suitable areas for oil palm cultivation. We conducted a literature review on how the sector developed and how its development influenced private and public actors in their choice among three categories of arrangements between oil palm growers and palm oil extraction units. We grouped cases reported in the literature in three categories: corporate models, contract farming, and growers' organizations. The two latter categories emerged in response to the call for better inclusion of growers in the value chain, for local development, and for sustainable production; they now represent almost 30% of production in the region. All the parties involved are pushing for more sustainable production. National governments intend to regulate production, and private companies are engaging in certification and fair partnerships with producers of fruit bunches. However, there are still many negative impacts on the environment, on local populations, and on biodiversity. Thus, although the Americas appear to be on the way to being leaders of sustainability in the palm oil sector, challenges remain.

Mots-clés : palmier oléifère; secteur agro-alimentaire; elaeis guineensis; dégradation de l'environnement; impact sur l'environnement; déboisement; agriculture durable; développement socioéconomique; amérique latine; amérique du sud; amérique centrale; caraïbes; filière agro-alimentaire

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