Issues in Brief, No. 30, May 2015

Smallholder Challenges in the Growing Palm Oil Industry

By Laurie Wissler
May 2015 (8 Pages)
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In this Issues in Brief, 2014 Pardee Graduate Summer Fellow Laurie Wissler explores the challenges faced by smallholder palm oil farmers, particularly in Southeast Asia. Smallholders operating less than 50 hectares of land produce about one-third of the global palm oil supply, but their livelihoods are threatened by land conflicts, market vulnerability, and low crop yields. She concludes that action by domestic governments, industry stakeholders, and NGOs is needed to protect smallholders and to continue to meet the growing global demand for palm oil.

Laurie Wissler was a 2014 Graduate Summer Fellow at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and earned a master’s degree in International Relations & Environmental Policy at Boston University in 2015. Her research interests include the roles of policy and the private sector in promoting sustainable agriculture and supporting rural livelihoods in developing regions.