Govt Devises Strategies to Counter Anti-palm oil Campaigns

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has devised several strategies, including setting up the country’s own palm oil certification body, to counter the anti-palm oil campaigns engineered by its international rivals.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas told Parliament yesterday that the cabinet recently passed a motion to set up the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification body, which will be used to regulate the local palm oil industry.

“The international market has decided that palm oil needs to be certified, which is why the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed at the global level as a certification scheme.

“However, only 918,000 hectares from a total of 5.1 million hectares of Malaysian palm oil has acquired RSPO certification so far. This is because the requirements are constantly changing.

“Therefore, Malaysia has decided to form its own certification body to resolve that problem. The challenge we face now is for MSPO to be recognised globally,” he said.

Douglas said the ministry continued to monitor anti-palm oil campaigns engineered by some countries, which were intended to stifle competition from Malaysia with products from their countries.

“They say that oil palm causes deforestation. But in truth, oil palm only destroys 0.4 per cent of Malaysian forests, compared to livestock industries such as soya bean, which causes total deforestation of more than 70 per cent.

“The strategies we are adopting to counter such allegations include legal action at the industrial courts of countries which discriminate against palm oil. For instance, the Malaysian Palm Oil Council recently took legal action in the French industrial court against the Casino hypermarket for distributing products containing ‘No Palm Oil’ labels.

“The ministry is also studying provisions under the World Trade Organisation for follow-up action on this matter. We are also conducting awareness programmes and seminars to promote the advantages of palm oil in terms of its consumption and sustainability.”

He added that palm oil export to Europe had increased despite the campaigns, with Malaysian palm oil still largely favoured by the international market because of its high quality.

Source : New Straits Times

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