- Inquiring into the political economy of oil palm as a global flex crop
- Journal of Peasant Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 43 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Oil palm production and consumption, and the trade of its multiple commodities, have expanded exponentially in recent decades. This paper argues that this expansion will continue due to, and along with, the rise of ‘flexing’ among its increasing multiple uses, especially for more industrial and energy purposes. Oil palm has been extensively analysed in the context of land grabs and agrarian change, land conversion and deforestation. However, its nature as a flex crop remains unexplored, especially with respects to the convergence of global food, fuel and environmental crises. This paper provides a preliminary discussion of how oil palm fits in the flex-crop framework to analyse its enabling material and ideational bases, as well as who informs, decides and controls the nature of flexing. This is done through an analysis of the different roles played by state, corporate (private) and social actors in the flexing of oil palm across the globe. We conclude by drawing some implications for further research.
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