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Palm Oil Republic

The rise in global demand for Palm oil is putting pressure on agricultural land and rural communities across the developing world. Palm oil is in half of all products we buy in the supermarkets. Tim Desmond went to Honduras to investigate this business

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4.7/5 (23 ratings)

Documentary maker: Tim Desmond

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Documentary maker: Liam O'Brien

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A story of land conflict in Honduras.

The rapid rise in global demand for oil extracted from the fruit of the African palm is putting increasing pressure on agricultural land and rural communities across the developing world. Palm oil is an ingredient used extensively in food production, cosmetics and detergents, appearing on supermarket shelves across the world.

Honduras, the original ‘Banana Republic’ has suffered more than many countries where the push for land to grow the lucrative crop has intensified long running disputes between wealthy landowners and poor farmers and led to dozens of killings in recent years. The Irish NGO Trocaire has taken the lead in assisting local communities seeking justice for the victims of human rights abuses committed during the conflict.

A major loan from the World Bank to one of the main palm oil producers in Honduras has been put on hold because of the conflict. International human rights groups, environmental campaigners and shareholders in global food companies are now campaigning on the ethical issues arising from the palm oil production processes.

Tim Desmond visits the Aguan region of Honduras where much of the violence has occurred, reporting on how communities are coping with a militarised response to their desire for long term food and income security.

This documentary was produced in association with Irish Aid/Department of Foreign Affairs

Narrated and produced by Tim Desmond.

Production Supervision by Liam O’Brien.

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