To optimise sanitation and maximise output at our plantations, we do use some biocides (pesticides and herbicides).
In nurseries, we use fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. In mature plantations, we use herbicides to clear harvest paths and the base of the palms by limiting the growth of ground cover. In some countries, we also have to use rodenticide against rats and other rodents that like young palm shoots.
All products are approved by the local authorities and used in accordance with the instructions of technical and safety data sheets.
We are aware of the cost of these products and their potential impact on the health of our workers, and make every effort to avoid unnecessary and excessive use of these substances.
Integrated pest control techniques have been introduced, for example:
- Against insect pests:
o habitat destruction
o planting of host plants for parasitic insects
o pheromone traps
- Against rodents:
o standard trees to facilitate the movement of birds of prey that will feed on rodents
o fencing around palm seedlings
o prohibition on killing snakes.
To limit the impact of fungal diseases, research focuses on the selection of palms resistant to Fusarium or Ganoderma; this makes the use of fungicides unnecessary for these specific diseases.
The oil palm is recognised as an oil crop that requires very little input: for an equal output of vegetable oil, the oil palm requires about 100 times less pesticide than soya (10 kilos per ton of soya oil compared with 0.1 kg per ton of palm oil).
The herbicides used in mature plantations are biodegradable, systemic and foliar (i.e. acting via the leaves and transported as far as the roots) or contact-based. They do not come into contact with the palm trees themselves and are not transported by the roots of the palm to the fruit. They therefore cannot end up in palm oil sold for consumption.