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The Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA), the Nigeria-based public policy think-tank, issued a statement on Oct 9, 2015, condemning the peddling of junk science to advance an anti-palm oil campaign in Italy.

For months now, [politician] Beppe Grillo and his band of intolerant followers have been denigrating palm oil in the media, with wild, unsubstantiated claims linking health and environmental problems to palm oil.

These smears often referred to a skewed study published by the University of Bari [Italy], which claimed a correlation between the consumption of palm oil and increase in cases of diabetes.

The author of the study, Professor Francesco Giorgino, has since publicly apologised for making such a misleading assertion and crucial mistakes in his analysis, which led to erroneous and false conclusions about palm oil.

The news was widely reported in the Italian media. The author has apologised for the error. The magazine that published the study ‘Diabetologia’ has toed the author’s line and apologised as well.

But where is the apology from Il Fatto Alimentare? Where is the apology from Beppe Grillo?

worker-palm-oil-2015Il Fatto Alimentare, Movimento 5 Stelle, Great Italian Food Trade and Coldiretti have built their campaign against palm oil on junk science. They owe the Italian public – and small oil palm farmers all over the developing world – an apology,” said Thompson Ayodele, Director of the IPPA.

More than 80% of the oil palm in Nigeria is farmed by small farmers, who number more than 3 million worldwide. They rely on oil palm to reduce poverty and improve prosperity for their communities.

The campaign against palm oil in Italy is one that is not only against the small farmer and against development, but also aimed at perpetuating poverty.

The IPPA’s major concern is with the principles and institutions that enhance economic development and wealth creation, with particular focus on Africa and Nigeria.

 

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