- AP News
- Abc News
[by:www.Tingvoa.com - VOA英语网]
[00:00.10]The palm oil industry is growing in Central America.
[00:06.02]And in Guatemala, the product has become a major export.
[00:11.36]Supporters say the industry creates jobs and investment
[00:17.51] in areas where poverty and violence have led to waves of migration.
[00:24.50]However, critics say the industry is also a cause of such flight.
[00:31.73]Raxruha, Guatemala, is among the towns experiencing an outward flow.
[00:40.01]Palm oil farms have made subsistence farming there increasingly
[00:47.69]hard for the town's 40,000 people.
[00:51.83]Some have sold land to palm oil producers.
[00:56.61]Opponents of the palm oil industry argue that farmers are giving up
[01:04.24]their land to take up jobs that do not pay well enough to keep them in Raxruha.
[01:12.17]Cesar Castro is the town's mayor.
[01:17.65]He says money from land sales has been used to pay smugglers.
[01:25.12]“These people get the money, and they go to the United States,
[01:31.44] and the vast majority come back to find
[01:34.90] more poverty and end up employed as workers on their own land,” he said.
[01:41.82]Jakelin Caal was from Raxruha.
[01:46.36]She was the 7-year-old girl who died of a blood infection
[01:52.94]while in detention at the U.S. border in December.
[01:58.63]Her relatives said she left Raxruha with her father because
[02:05.10] he was struggling to earn enough as a corn farmer to support his family.
[02:11.65]Smugglers tell families that having children with them can make it easier to enter the U.S.
[02:22.18]Jakelin's uncle said work on the palm oil farms is very hard.
[02:29.54]He told Reuters that he earned $7.80 a day for working 12 hours,
[02:36.64]or below Guatemala's legal minimum wage for agricultural work.
[02:45.41]The palm oil producer is called Industria Chiquibul.
[02:52.71]Reuters reports that the labor rights group National Council
[02:59.10]for Displaced People of Guatemala
[03:01.71] discussed the low pay issue in 2016 with the American company Cargill.
[03:10.81]It is a big buyer of palm oil.
[03:14.12]Cargill said it works closely with "suppliers to ensure that all supply
[03:24.21]chain practices support the United Nations' goals to provide people with decent work.”
[03:31.71]Palm oil has become an important ingredient in food, soaps and fuel around the world.
[03:41.29]The oil became very popular after other less healthful oils were banned in many places.
[03:51.09]Reuters reports that the United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO)
[03:59.71]has prepared a report that questions whether palm oil is as healthy as believed.
[04:06.69]The WHO calls for more research on palm oil and more rules for the industry.
[04:16.15]It compared the methods of industry supporters to those
[04:22.32]used by the tobacco and alcohol industries, Reuters reports.
[04:28.24]Indonesia and Malaysia are the largest producers of palm oil.
[04:35.62]However, Guatemala has become one of the biggest producers in the Americas,
[04:43.28]with exports of 727,000 tons in 2017.
[04:48.78]One farmer told Reuter he felt as though he was forced to sell his land to Chiquibul.
[04:59.01]Others say criticism of the palm oil companies is unfair because they provide jobs.
[05:08.74]Hector Herrera is with the palm oil producer NaturAceites.
[05:15.40]He said his company has created
[05:19.30] thousands of jobs and invested in roads, schools and health centers.
[05:26.13]NaturAceites says most of the land it operates in Guatemala
[05:33.29]had been intensively used to raise cattle before it was used for oil palms.
[05:42.28]I'm Mario Ritter Jr.