Photography: Doris Jongerius
Design: Winneke de Groot
Text: Annemiek During
Price: € 35,-
Edition of 100 signed and numbered books
While traveling through Indonesia I became interested in palm oil. There I saw the huge impact those plantations had on the Indonesian landscape and on its biodiversity as I passed endless straight lines of palm trees. After my return, I started to explore the subject. I had never realized the complexity of the palm oil production. Part of my research was via Google Earth. On the satellite images one could very clearly see the plantations and the scale of production. Furthermore, the role of Dutch interventions interested me. The Dutch started to commercialize palm oil production once they had colonized Indonesia. Even now the Netherlands are still a major player in palm oil production. After China and India they are the largest importer of palm oil.
When I returned to Indonesia for a second visit, I met many Indonesian people who were connected to the production of palm oil. About 10% of the Indonesian population lives from the benefits of palm oil, either directly or indirectly. However, I noticed a significant difference between large palm oil companies and the so-called smallholders. The large corporations wanted to keep me at a distance while the smallholders were very inviting and proud of their plantations. The work of smallholders is conducted on a small-scale on land that was often previously used to grow other crops, whereas the large producers of palm oil have grown expansively. This book aims to show the contrast between these two forms of palm oil production. This distinction undeniably has an impact on the ecological structure of the country. The pictures, which were mainly taken in Kalimantan and Sumatra, zoom in on everyday life. Hopefully these pictures will contribute to furthering the complex discussion on the palm oil industry, emphasizing the importance of transforming the industry towards a sustainable production and consumption of the green gold.