Angry farmers despair at what will happen to their livelihoods when the Brussels biofuels ban takes effect in 2020

In the small farming settlement of Palong in rural Malaysia, the EU is a dirty word. A few months ago, these men – mostly in their sixties, their skin brown and weathered from years working the land – had never even heard of the European parliament: but now their livelihoods are at risk because of it.

The crop they harvest is palm oil, one of Malaysia’s biggest exports worth $20bn a year. The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to ban the use of palm oil in all European biofuels by 2020, citing environmental concerns. If it is approved by the European Commission, the impact on the 650,000 smallholder palm farmers in Malaysia will be devastating.

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