Malaysia is determined to foster a cordial engagement with the European Union (EU) in search of a win-win solution that can benefit the palm oil industry at large, although the trade bloc has remained in staunch opposition to palm oil trade since 2003.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said Malaysia hopes to channel various updated information on the palm oil industry, in particular from the health and nutrition and sustainability fronts, to correct misconceptions of palm oil and its related products, as evidenced in widespread anti-palm oil campaigns in the EU.
Engagements are currently being held through various platforms, for example the Asean-EU Joint Working Group, seminar programs or webinars and dialogues/discussions via economic and palm oil promotion missions, she said.
“Aligned with these efforts are two initiatives, namely the Malaysia-EU partnership programs aimed at enhancing the sustainability of the palm oil trade and the partnership under the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC).
“Under the Malaysia-EU partnership initiative, two programs stand out. Theses re the Sustainability of Malaysian and Indonesian Palm Oil project or Kami, and the National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NI-SCOPS) with the Netherlands,” she said in a statement to Bernama.
As for the CPOPC initiative, Malaysia is working closely with Indonesia to counter anti-palm oil campaigns on a global level.
“(As) a symbolic gesture between the world’s top two palm oil producers, various programs have been or are in the midst of being implemented to foil the onslaught of anti-palm oil campaigns,” she said.
A notable program undertaken under the CPOPC includes the joint mission by Malaysia and Indonesia to hold discussions and consultations with the EU to manage palm oil-related issues in Europe.
“Taking into account the current Ukrainian-Russian situation and changes to the weather, causing a shortage of soybean oil supply and sunflower, it is a golden opportunity for Malaysia to promote the benefits of palm oil to the EU and to fill the gap in global cooking oil supply.
“The world should believe in the potential of Malaysian palm oil because of the country’s numerous palm oil sustainability initiatives.
This is done through various ongoing campaigns by the ministry, which are actively carried out to defend the image of palm oil (in view of) the unstable world cooking oil supply production at the moment,” Zuraida added.