The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis): Research challenges beyond controversies

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Scientists certainly have a part to play in the debate over oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) cultivation, which has captured and polarized public opinion, kindled and undoubtedly shaped by the media. How can this palm be viewed as a "miracle plant" by both the agro-food industry in the North and farmers in the tropical zone, but a serious ecological threat by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) campaigning for the environment or the rights of indigenous peoples? The time has come to move on from this biased and often irrational debate, which is rooted in topical issues of contemporary society in the North, such as junk food, biodiversity, energy policy and ethical consumption.

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