I have just come back from a trip to South America where I am working with farmers and the fertility of their soils. Although many express sympathy for the forests and organic farming they would not make a living without their farms which have ultimately come from deforestation. The versatility of oil palm makes it very attractive and it is therefore not strange that the risk of illegal practices is higher compared with other crops.
Palm oil may be the single most important crop that you never heard of. A vegetable fat that resembles reddish butter at room temperature, palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree. Both nutritious  and highly versatile , palm oil is now an important component of products ranging from biofuels and food to soaps and cosmetics. Estimates indicate that as much as 50 percent of the products used by the average Western consumer every day contain palm oil or its derivatives . In 2013, the global market for palm oil was estimated at $44 billion . This figure is likely to increase in the near future, as manufacturers look for alternatives to trans fats in processed food products, and consumers in rapidly industrializing economies such as China and India add to growing global demand.