For tropical countries, African palm represents an interesting and important alternative for the development of an integrated and sustainable economy, thanks to the fact that it involves a production system that exploits the comparative advantages of tropical areas.
Central America is a tropical region where African palm is cultivated, and this cultivation has represented a good part of the bloc’s economic boost. In 2020, for example, Costa Rica was the largest exporter of palm oil in the region, selling $148.4 million, followed by Panama with $28.7 million, Nicaragua with $2.2 million, and El Salvador with $0.4 million.
Climate change itself may affect palm production due to a scenario of high greenhouse gas emissions. And in turn, planting can contribute to climate change, creating a cycle that can perpetuate the harmful effects. However, the good news is that there are three well-documented ways to prevent the circle from forming.
While some findings indicate that unsustainable African palm cultivation could cause deforestation or soil erosion, companies at the forefront of its cultivation have found ways to do so without harming the environment.
Grupo Karim’s, a leading company in the region in the textile sector and real estate projects, with a presence in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States, carries out, within the framework of its Agriculture Division, through Palma Real del Sur Este, responsible cultivation and in line with environmental care practices.
The 3 ways to reduce the effects of African palm cultivation
Avoid the cultivation of land through fires
Illegal clearing of land for cultivation is a familiar problem in the world. Land clearing by fire significantly increases the impact on the environment. Fires are used in the large-scale conversion process of a country’s forest assets.
The growth in the prevalence of fires correlates with the expansion of profitable agricultural products. However, responsible companies have found a way to reduce the negative impacts of burning land, starting by promoting a green economy campaign and sustainable development of crops with an environmental perspective.
More cover crops
Cover crops can be considered the backbone of any annual cropping system looking to be sustainable. There are several ways to use cover crops, each providing specific benefits for the crops and soil in question. A cover crop is any crop that is grown to provide ground cover, regardless of whether it is brought in for sale later.
Cover crops are grown primarily to prevent soil erosion from wind, water, and intensive land use. The use of green manure implies the incorporation of flowering elements into the soil, in order to improve the soil in general. Cover crops and green manures can be annuals or perennials grown for all or part of the year.
Innovative irrigation practices
Innovative irrigation practices have the ability to improve water efficiency, gaining an economic advantage while reducing the environmental burdens of African palm crops. In some cases, these practices have provided ways to help farmers adapt and implement more viable solutions, thus reaping more benefits from irrigation technology.
One way to generalize these practices is for farmers and businesses to have the appropriate means and incentives to learn about efficient water use for crops, actual irrigation applications, and crop yield response to different management practices. water management.
Water efficiency can be improved by making better use of current facilities, or by adopting new equipment and technologies, such as soil moisture sensors to better match irrigation to plant needs, and good agricultural practices, such as conservation tillage, management of soil fertility, and water retention capacity, as well as scheduling irrigation at night to reduce evaporation.
Thus, sustainable African palm agriculture to protect the environment and the economy is feasible. It is an alternative to conventional industrial farming practices. Businesses that practice sustainable agriculture positively impact the health and well-being of the community as well as nature, while remaining profitable businesses.