PUTRAJAYA, Aug 27 (Bernama) -- Better market access, branding, costeffectiveness, production, competitiveness, quality, and more research andinnovations were touted as the way ahead for the global palm oil industryat the conferences held in conjunction with the MPOB International PalmOil Congress 2003 (PIPOC 2003) which ended here Wednesday.
At the Marketing and Economic Conference held in conjunction with PIPOC,most presenters spoke on the issues and challenges faced by the palm oilindustry and the way ahead amidst tough competition in the world market ofedible oils.
A panel discussion held at the end of the conference today, also widelytouched on the boundless opportunities for edible and non-edible palm oilsin the global arena.
Concerns were also raised over effective branding and packaging of palmoil and palm oil products in attracting end-users in domestic as well asin the international markets.
At the panel discussion, chief executive officer of Malaysian Palm OilPromotion Council (MPOPC) Datuk Haron Siraj touched on the importance forpalm oil to find synergies with other oils and fats such as rape seed,sunflower and soyabean.
"We have proven their viability and what is important is making thevegetable as an acceptable oil for consumers as well as manufacturers. Atthe end of the day, consumers should feel safe," he added.
Lamenting on the habits of few manufacturers who degraded oils and fatsother than which they had interest in, Haron said the industry playersshould adopt some ethics and find ways to resolve the issue in a bettermanner.
"We shouldn't be hitting each other below the belt," he said.
Echoing Haron's point of view, Malaysian Palm Oil Association chiefexecutive officer M.R Chandran said one should not be using others'negative factors as their selling points.
"Coca-cola does not say that Pepsi-Cola has negative effects on consumers,but highlights the goodness of drinking Coca-Cola without touching on thenegative sides of others," he said.
On another note, he said Malaysian palm oil industry should alsocontinuously enhance production yield per hectare, and at the same timefind ways to reduce costs.
"Genetically modified (GMO) products does not help increase productivitybut rather reduce losses in production as well as costs," he said.
It is not necessary for palm oil industry to venture into GMO products soas to compete with soyabean because at the end of the day, consumers arethe ones who really determine the ingredients that they want in theend-products, he said.
Wrapping up the Food Technology and Nutrition Conference meanwhile, MPOBHead of Unit Food Technology & Nutrition, Dr Kalyana Sundram said thatresearch and innovations would continue be carried out in the nutritionalaspects and benefits of the palm oil for the advancement of humankind.
Several advancements made in the research of the nutritional properties ofpalm oil were also highlighted at this conference. This included the wellestablished curing properties of palm oil in the treatment of nightblindness in children.
The five-day biennial PIPOC 2003, kicked off on Sunday with registrationfrom 1,600 participants from 45 countries as well as 72 exhibitors,carrying a theme "Palm Oil: The PowerHouse for the Global Oils and FatsEconomy."
The conference would officially end tomorrow with a round of golf forcongress participants, tours of the new administrative capital, KualaLumpur as well as technical tours to oil palm plantations outside thecity.
Participants at this year's congress ranged from palm oil growers,processors, exporters, traders, handling companies, importers, technologyand service suppliers and manufacturers to scientists and policymakers.
The congress proper was broken up into the Agriculture Conference,Chemistry and Technology Conference, Food Technology and NutritionConference, Oleochemicals Conference and Economic and MarketingConference.
On the whole, PIPOC 2003, the second in the millennium, successfullyprovided a platform for intellectual deliberations as regards to palm oildevelopments and prospects vis-a-vis 16 other oils and fats.
Now, more than ever, palm oil is believed to be the world leader in oilsand fats trade in view of continued increase in population and income.
Its prospect for growth is wide and its contribution to economy andmankind in general will continue to be significant.