WakeUp Indonesia

WakeUp Indonesia – Pietro Paganini – The Jakarta Post – March 24

WakeUp Indonesia – The trade war against palm oil is also a war against Indonesia and its people, because palm oil is a product of your land and of the technology and hard work of hundreds of thousands of Indonesians and their families. It’s a war only the Indonesian people can win. You mustn’t expect anyone’s help. To win, however, you’ve got to work hard.

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This war is clearly being waged for commercial reasons, and behind it are the main competitors of palm oil in the various sectors the oil is used in, or, in the case of some EU countries, food companies and retail chains, in a desperate attempt to defend their business and conquer new slices of the market. This is who is using NGOs to spread fake news all over the world regarding the Indonesian palm oil industry. This news is entirely groundless, and there are no scientific arguments to support it. European consumers ask for products free of palm oil, because they are under the illusion that they are healthier and more sustainable. What they are unaware of is that the “palm oil free” label is a response to a desire for well-being that has been artificially stimulated by deliberately misleading information and advertising messages. And what about you, Indonesian consumers? There’s a growing sensation that more and more of you are chasing this European model, paying heed to messages that reinforce prejudices, turning your backs on science and the experimental method and developing an unhealthy inclination for a fallacious idea of what is healthy. Watch out, because if the health-conscious, environmentally-friendly Europe has it in for your oil, it’s in order to defend its own products at all costs. We Europeans are proud of what we grow and produce. Are you? Are you proud of your palm oil? Sometimes it doesn’t look like it. Your voice isn’t reaching Europe, while ours – and the Americans’ – is spreading all over the world.

WakeUp Indonesia

Pietro Paganini – The Jakarta Post – March 24

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For instance, the purpose of labels is to inform the consumer, but they’re used above all to defend what we produce, both its intellectual value and reputation. Italian Sounding is a case study. In my home country of Italy, we’ve developed the Made in Italy concept to defend all the goodness and beauty we export. Made in Italy is a brand concept that transmits the idea of genuine, quality, stylish, feel-good products. We defend Italian food produce, industry, design and fashion. We defend our wine and our olive oil, even when it’s mixed with that extracted from Spanish or Greek olives. We want to believe the oil we drizzle over our food is the same genuine oil we used to buy straight from the farmer and not an industrial product from a factory. We’ve forgotten that the land covered by olive groves today was once covered with marvellous forests. Our hills, which attract hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world, have been transformed by the hand of man over the centuries; the trees have disappeared and been replaced by intensive crop farming, resulting in the extinction of many species of animals. Today, many fields have been abandoned, because growing crops on them is no longer profitable.

Why don’t you do the same for palm oil? If you want to copy us, you should also learn to defend the good things you do, and to tell the world about them in the same positive way we Italians promote our finest products. Palm oil farmers and producers ought to be making themselves heard, proudly defending and promoting palm oil worldwide. That’s not happening. Many of us equate your oil with poison. We associate it with deforestation, exploitation of the land and scant regard for human rights. I’m one of the few who know this is not true. We must let everyone know. We must show them they are wrong and convince them of the truth. We will never stop defending our olive oil. You should never stop defending palm oil. Never. So, wake up and take action, before it’s too late.

WakeUp Indonesia – Pietro Paganini – The Jakarta Post – March 24

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