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Reuters

Rats, drought and labour shortages eat into global edible oil recovery

In a sprawling oil palm plantation in the Malaysian state of Perak, watermelon seedlings are sprouting from freshly ploughed earth between palm saplings while rented cows graze in overgrown areas of the estate. A coronavirus pandemic-induced labour crunch has forced managers of the 2,000-hectare estate in Slim River to find creative ways to upkeep their fields, even as prices of the world’s most consumed edible oil are near record highs. Malaysia, the world’s second-largest producer of palm oil, is facing a perfect storm of production headwinds that will likely drag global stocks to their lowest level in five years.

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