KUCHING – President Joko Widodo has called on Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Rajak for Malaysia to unite with Indonesian in fighting the black campaign against palm oil products.
“We have to unite to fight the black campaign against palm oil,” Jokowi said during a joint press statement with the Malaysian Premier in Kucing, Malaysia on Wednesday (22/11/2017).
This cooperation was important according to Jokowi, because it concerned the livelihood of smallholders in Indonesia and in Malaysia. The palm oil sector contributed 5,5 million direct jobs in the fietld and 12 million indirect jobs. Around 42 percent of the palm oil plantations are in the hands of these smallholders.
According to Jokowi, palm oil plays a role in poverty alleviation efforts, as well as those to narrow development gaps and to create an inclusive economic development that is in line with the agenda of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Jokowi said that the two countries already have a new, very strategic cooperation, that is the strengthening of partnership among palm oil producing countries through the establishment of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC).
In November 2017, Indonesia became the host for a ministerial meeting of the CPOPC, inviting a number of palm oil producing countries such as Guatemala, Colombia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand.
In the meeting the representatives of these palm oil producing countries agreed to enhance their cooperation in developing palm oil, through improving the productivity of smallholders and boosting the competitiveness of products at the global level.
At the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Summit Conference on cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union in Manila earlier this month, the president had also mentioned the palm oil issue, calling on the European Union to halt its discrimination against palm oil and revoke its policies that did not favor the commodity.
“The Resolution of the European Parliament and also that of a number of European countries on palm oil and deforestation, in addition to various campaigns are not only causing losses to the economy but have also destroyed the image of producing countries,” Jokowi said at the time.