Vegetable Oil Broker

By: Mel Joelle

With the increasing demand worldwide for biofuels, fuels derived from plants as opposed fossil fuels that are mined or drilled from the ground, there are more and more vegetable oil brokers offering their services in the international oil trade. As more developing countries try to become competitive in the vegetable oil trade, vegetable oil brokers serve an indispensable role. Brokers help corporations and refineries that use or process vegetable oils find the product they need, and they help the farmers and industries that grow the vegetables find a receptive, profitable market in which to sell their oil-producing vegetables or the oil itself. An excellent example of the need for brokers is in Western Africa, where small farmers grow the palm trees that produce palm oil for biofuel, food ingredients and commercial uses like cosmetics and soap. These smaller scale farmers have little access to international markets in which to sell their palm oil and corporations that need the palm oil have little chance of finding these farmers on their own. With brokers linking markets to farmers, small farmers have a far better chance of making top dollar selling their palm oil in markets that they would have had little or no access to otherwise, and companies that need palm oil find producers as the need in markets increase.

Many vegetable oil brokers have focused on sustainability as part of their mission in connecting producers with purchasers. For instance, the palm trees that produce palm oil are native to Western Africa. Growing palm oil there is less a tax on the ecosystem of the countries involved, encouraging sustainable farming that poses less ecological damage to the environment. Additionally, encouraging the sales of palm oil and the refinement of palm oil into a biofuel assists the burgeoning biofuel market, where biodiesel is becoming more and more viable. Since biofuel is derived from plant matter, it is far more renewable a resource than fossil fuel, which derives from a decidedly non-renewable source. Brokers, in connecting sustainably grown vegetable oil with markets that turn the oil into a renewable form of energy, help the environment.

Some vegetable oil brokers have gone high tech in connecting producers with markets. There are business-to-business websites in which companies that need vegetable oils can post entries explaining the sorts of oil they need, the amount they need and how much they are willing to pay. This enables farmers to go online and see first hand what markets are available. It also enables farmers, especially those who farm on a smaller scale, like those who produce palm oil in developing countries, to form cooperatives to place bids with companies who need a larger economy of production than they could provide alone. Some of these vegetable broker sites permit the farmers themselves to advertise their oils, finding a market themselves online. These online vegetable oil brokers help markets with specific demands find producers and can help producers with product on hand sell it in immediate markets, as well as sell interests in upcoming harvests. Companies on both sides of the transaction find these broker portals very useful.

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