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NZ dairy farmers caught in environmentalists' fight against palm oil industry

Published Sun, Dec 27, 2015 · 09:50 PM
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Wellington

THE world's biggest dairy exporter, New Zealand's Fonterra, has found itself caught in the crossfire of an unexpected new controversy: a global environmental campaign against the destruction of rainforests.

The country, which prides itself on its green image, has become a top buyer of palm kernel expeller or PKE, a by-product of the palm oil industry, which is under attack over deforestation, choking fires and habitat destruction in South-east Asia.

For New Zealand dairy farmers palm kernel has been a "lifesaver" by boosting production when grass is sparse, said Chris Engel, who runs 400 cows in the Wairarapa region on the southern tip of the North Island. "It has been a fantastic supplement for farmers facing a drought and you can just ring up and get a …

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