07/04/2008 (Modern Ghana) - Imports of palm oil into the European Union (EU) are set to grow as it is relatively cheaper than soy or sun oil.
Heike Hintze-Gharres, market analyst at the Home Grown Cereals Authority, said: “The amount of palm oil used in the EU is astonishing.”
While many people have raised concerns about the use of the edible oil to make bio-diesel, she said: “What people don't always realise is how much it is used for everything else.”
About 10 percent of products on the EU's supermarket shelves contain palm oil, she said, adding that about 74 percent of palm oil in the EU goes towards food production.
Richard Whitlock, Industrial Crops Director at Frontier Agriculture, said that palm oil production had been expanding rapidly before the bio-fuels industry took off, and that bio-fuels were "the icing on the cake".
He said that although sustainability standards in the European Union for both food and bio-fuels could help to put the brakes on deforestation, these standards needed to be made global or else unsustainable palm would continue to be profitable in other regions.