17.07.2020 (www.theedgemarkets.com) - KUALA LUMPUR (July 16): The Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy launched recently by the European Commission offers a major opportunity for palm oil producing countries to work together and further improve sustainability standards, the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) said.
It will also serve as a useful tool to enable European consumers to appreciate the excellent qualities of palm oil, which is — and remains — the most widely sold vegetable oil in the world.
“The CPOPC secretariat understands the desire of national governments to support domestic producers of vegetable fats and oils, particularly during such challenging times.
“However, we are confident that the European Union (EU) will act in the interest of all its citizens, and with a view to global development, by guaranteeing the importation of, and access to, sustainable palm oil,” it said in a statement today.
The CPOPC secretariat acknowledged the statement by the European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan on behalf of the European Commission — in response to a parliamentary question, may indicate a new willingness by Europe to collaborate with palm oil producing countries to foster an even more sustainable supply chain.
CPOPC, established by Malaysia and Indonesia in 2015, recognised the efforts that producing countries and all stakeholders have made and continue to make towards a production strategy that best balances the relationship between man and nature, protects biodiversity and forests, and guarantees not only the most basic human rights, but also an opportunity for economic and social prosperity.
The commission’s response to the question submitted to the European Parliament by a representative from Poland belies their concerns regarding the protectionist position of many European member states.
“Indeed, over the last two decades palm oil has been the subject of unfair and counter-productive vilification campaigns, driven by protectionist and commercial motives,” CPOPC said.
It stressed that most palm oil that arrives in Europe is already certified, and meets extremely high sustainability standards.
In order for the F2F strategy to have a significant impact and achieve its ambitious goals, the council said the producing countries must all work together at an international level and on a multilateral basis.
“All perspectives must be considered. There must be multilateral discussions, rather than the default application of green deal diplomacy. We want to be part of this discussions, not mere spectators.
“To be true to its values and norms, the EU should promote balanced, non-discriminatory, not unilateral and based on scientific basis legislative and regulatory measures. In essence, the EU should work in partnership with the countries concerned through consultations and dialogues.
“We will continue to support this ambitious project, as we have done in the past, despite constant, exasperating attacks on our industry every day,” CPOPC added.
For millions living in the equatorial region of the world, palm oil represents a fundamental source of livelihood and economic and social development.
For billions, it represents a fundamental source of nutrition. The global population, which currently stands at more than 7.6 billion, is rapidly approaching the 10-billion mark and palm oil is proven to be among the most balanced products to guarantee secure, safe – but also sustainable – nutrition to the world’s population.
The debate surrounding the F2F strategy must not overlook these considerations.