30/08/2007 (Bernama), Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia wants all palm oil industry players to actively participate in the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in efforts to address the misconceptions and negative reports and issues surrounding palm oil plantations.
In making the call, Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)'s chairman Datuk Sabri Ahmad said the roundtable was vital to establish principles and criteria as a commitment to the development of oil palm plantation and the preservation of biodiversity and the environment.
"The sustainable palm oil production in terms of safeguarding the environment is becoming more and more crucial for the agriculture sector," he said.
"Therefore, we must take concerted efforts to highlight the positive attributes of palm oil such as its high yield per hectare compared to other vegetable oils, high sequestration (absorption) of carbon, and good nutritional aspects with regards to trans-fatty acids," he said.
All these positive attributes need to be further promoted," he said at the International Palm Oil Congress here Thursday.
The RSPO is an association created to carrying out activities in and around the entire supply chain for palm oil to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through cooperation within the supply chain and via open dialogue.
Tt would brings together growers, processors, investors, traders, retailers and NGOs in one table to discuss issues related to the palm oil industry.
The principle tasks of the RSPO, among others include research and development definitions and criteria for sustainable production and use of palm oil, undertaking practical projects designed to facilitate implementation of sustainable best practices, and develop solutions to practical problems related to the adoption and verification of best practices for plantation establishment and management, procurement, trade and logistics.
Western activists, such as in Europe and the United States had launched a massive campaign alleging that Malaysia and Indonesia, the top world's producers of palm oil, had destroyed the environment and the orang utan's natural habitat with the opening of palm oil estates with some groups even claiming that biodiesel was not a clean fuel.
Europe lately has emerged as one of the major markets for palm oil -- apart from China and India -- given the increasing demand for biofuel, with estimates that the European market would import 30 million tonnes of palm oil by 2010 for biodiesel production.