Indo-Latam joint ventures mooted in oil palm
KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 (Business Line) - Oil palm industry in LatinAmerica is still at a nascent stage and as a minor player in the globalpalm oil market, the region is currently unable to influence prices.However, the future is bright. As India is also making forays into oilpalm cultivation, opportunities for Latin America and India to worktogether must be explored, according to Mr Jens Mesa-DishingtonnesExecutive President of Colombia's National Association of Oil Palm Growers(Fedepalma).He was talking to Business Line during the course of Commex Malaysia'sPalm Oil Price Outlook 2001-02 conference here. Latin American productionof palm oil has been steady at 1.2 million tonnes. For 2000-01 forecastoutput is higher at 1.3 m.t. It is the third largest oil produced in theregion after soyabean oil and sunflower oil. Palm oil exports are,however, less than one lakh tonnes.``India is endeavouring to promote oil palm plantation because of the needto import very large quantities of edible oil every year. We in LatinAmerica have made some progress in palm agro-industry. We have a long wayto go, though. Cooperation with a similarly placed country like India canbring about accelerated development,'' Mr Mesa-Dishingtonnes said.Referring to the vision and strategies paper of the oil palm agro-industryin Colombia, the Fedepalma Chairman said his association was working onachieving a 10 per cent annual growth of national production during2000-2020 period which will translate to production reaching a significant3.5 m.t by 2020. However, violence and insecurity plaguing the countryneeds to be overcome first, he asserted.In his presentation on price outlook, Mr Mesa-Dishingtonnes pointed outthat the new uses of palm oil such as in production of bio-diesel may helparrest the price slump and stabilise the market. He added that replantingmay be undertaken during periods of low prices as the opportunity cost ofproduction foregone due to replanting will be low while supply reductionmay help to increase prices and farmers' incomes.