Dual Defence

Dual Defence

INDONESIA Palm Oil Board (IPOB), the umbrella body of Indonesia’s palm oil sector, wants to join hands with Malaysia to fight smear campaigns that intend “to kill the growth of oil palm plantings”.

As a step towards this initiative, IPOB, provided it gets government approval, wants to follow Malaysia’s example of establishing a dedicated funding to promote benefits of oil palm planting and create better awareness on palm oil nutrition.

“We want to promote Indonesia’s palm oil industry on a global level. We have the same spirit as Malaysia in opening up markets that are increasingly hindered by non-tariff trade barriers and protectionism,” said IPOB chairman Derom Bangun.

Oil palm planting and palm oil exports provide developing nations a path out of poverty.

The growing of oil palms, the world’s most-efficient oil crop, is helping the people of Malaysia and Indonesia to improve their standard of living.

Indonesia and Malaysia supply affordable and nutritious cooking oil and margarine to billions of people in developing nations such as China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

According to Oil World trade journal, Malaysia and Indonesia are expected to export the bulk of the 56 million tonnes of palm oil traded worldwide this year.

In the last five years, Malaysia earned between US$15 billion and US$20 billion (RM50 billion and RM70 billion) a year from palm oil exports.

Indonesia earns around US$15 billion annually from palm oil shipments.

“Our palm oil promotional diplomacy and market access advocacy are done on an ad hoc basis currently,” Derom told Business Times on the sidelines of the Oils & Fats Congress 2014 held here recently.

“We’re seeking a meeting with Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman on this matter, among other things.

“We hope that by formalising a dedicated funding mechanism sourced from oil palm plantations and small planters in Indonesia, we can drive these programmes more effectively with Malaysia in the international

market,” he said.

Derom was responding to Malaysian Palm Oil Council chief executive officer Tan Sri Yusof Basiron’s suggestion recently that Malaysia is looking to Indonesia in jointly tackling smear campaigns and barriers to palm oil trade.

Derom said insidious smear campaigns on palm oil has one clear objective, which is to kill the growth of oil palm planting and reduce consumption in the global market.

“Deliberately reducing consumption of palm oil will only harm our farmers’ livelihoods and our means of getting out of poverty. We must address this unfair discrimination and trade oppression more effectively,” he said.

Source : New Straits Times

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