Could Palm Oil Be Causing Guatemalans to Migrate?
The palm oil industry is growing in Central America. And in Guatemala, the product has become a major export.
Supporters say the industry creates jobs and investment in areas where poverty and violence have led to waves of migration. However, critics say the industry is also a cause of such flight.
Raxruha, Guatemala, is among the towns experiencing an outward flow.
Palm oil farms have made subsistence farming there increasingly hard for the town's 40,000 people. Some have sold land to palm oil producers.
Opponents of the palm oil industry argue that farmers are giving up their land to take up jobs that do not pay well enough to keep them in Raxruha.
Cesar Castro is the town's mayor. He says money from land sales has been used to pay smugglers.
"These people get the money, and they go to the United States, and the vast majority come back to find more poverty and end up employed as workers on their own land," he said.
Poverty and migration
Jakelin Caal was from Raxruha. She was the 7-year-old girl who died of a blood infection while in detention at the U.S. border in December. Her relatives said she left Raxruha with her father because he was struggling to earn enough as a corn farmer to support his family.
Smugglers tell families that having children with them can make it easier to enter the U.S.
Jakelin's uncle said work on the palm oil farms is very hard. He told Reuters that he earned $7.80 a day for working 12 hours, or below Guatemala's legal minimum wage for agricultural work.
The palm oil producer is called Industria Chiquibul.
Reuters reports that the labor rights group National Council for Displaced People of Guatemala discussed the low pay issue in 2016 with the American company Cargill. It is a big buyer of palm oil.
Cargill said it works closely with "suppliers to ensure that all supply chain practices support the United Nations' goals to provide people with decent work."
Palm oil has become an important ingredient in food, soaps and fuel around the world. The oil became very popular after other less healthful oils were banned in many places.
Reuters reports that the United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) has prepared a report that questions whether palm oil is as healthy as believed. The WHO calls for more research on palm oil and more rules for the industry. It compared the methods of industry supporters to those used by the tobacco and alcohol industries, Reuters reports.
Indonesia and Malaysia are the largest producers of palm oil. However, Guatemala has become one of the biggest producers in the Americas, with exports of 727,000 tons in 2017.
One farmer told Reuter he felt as though he was forced to sell his land to Chiquibul. Others say criticism of the palm oil companies is unfair because they provide jobs.
Hector Herrera is with the palm oil producer NaturAceites. He said his company has created thousands of jobs and invested in roads, schools and health centers.
NaturAceites says most of the land it operates in Guatemala had been intensively used to raise cattle before it was used for oil palms.
I'm Mario Ritter Jr.
1.palm oil 棕榈油
Malaysia has long been a major exporter of tin, rubber and palm oil.
2.supply chain 供应链
We always balance the two in supply chain management.
3.low pay 低薪
Low pay is the main cause of job dissatisfaction among teachers.
4.labor rights 劳工权益
US progressivism historically advocates the advancement of labor rights and social justice.
5."These people get the money, and they go to the United States, and the vast majority come back to find more poverty and end up employed as workers on their own land," he said.
come back to 返回
I begged him to come back to England with me.
I'll come back to the land of my forebears.
6.Smugglers tell families that having children with them can make it easier to enter the U.S.
make it easier to 使...更容易
To make it easier to contact us, keep this card handy.
We deflate the tyres to make it easier to cross the desert.
中美洲的棕榈油工业正在发展 。在危地马拉，棕榈油已经成为主要的出口产品 。
支持者表示，该行业为因贫困、暴力导致移民潮的地区创造了就业机会和投资 。然而，批评人士表示，该行业同样也是移民潮出现的原因之一 。
棕榈油农场导致当地4万居民的自给自足农业越来越困难 。一些人把土地转卖给棕榈油生产商 。
塞萨尔·卡斯特罗（Cesar Castro）是该镇镇长 。他说，转卖土地所得收入都用来支付走私者 。
杰克琳（Jakelin Caal）来自拉克斯鲁哈 。她就是去年12月在美国边境被拘留期间死于血液感染的7岁女孩 。据她的亲戚们讲述，当时她随父亲离开拉克斯鲁哈，而以种玉米为生的父亲无法养家糊口 。
杰克琳的叔叔说，在棕榈油农场工作非常辛苦 。他告诉路透社，每天工作12个小时只能挣7.80美元，这低于危地马拉农业工作的最低工资标准 。
棕榈油生产商名叫Industria Chiquibul 。
路透社报道称，2016年，劳工权利组织“危地马拉全国流离失所者委员会”与美国嘉吉公司讨论了低薪问题 。该公司是棕榈油的大买家 。
棕榈油已经成为世界各地食品、肥皂和燃料的重要成分 。在很多地方禁止使用其他不太健康的油类后，棕榈油日渐流行起来 。
据路透社报道，联合国世界卫生组织（WHO）准备了一份报告，质疑棕榈油是否如人们想象的那样健康 。该组织呼吁对棕榈油进行更多的研究，并制定更多的行业规定 。路透社报道称，世卫组织将该行业支持者的方法与烟酒行业进行了比较 。
印尼和马来西亚是最大的棕榈油生产国 。然而，危地马拉已成为美洲最大的生产国之一，该国2017年的出口量为72.7万吨 。
一位农民告诉路透社，他觉得好像被迫将土地卖给了Chiquibul生产商 。还有农民表示，对棕榈油公司横加指责是不公正的，因为对方提供了就业机会 。
赫克托（Hector Herrera）在棕榈油生产公司NaturAceites任职 。他说，他的公司创造了数千个就业机会，还对道路、学校和医疗中心进行了投资 。