JAKARTA – The development of palm oil products in Indonesia is in line with one of the agenda of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on poverty alleviation, the head of the Policy Research and Development Board of the Foreign Ministry, Siswo Pramono, said.
“Opposing the development of palm oil means opposing the SDG programs in Indonesia because we believe that this sector has a great potential in alleviating poverty,” Utomo said while opening a course on palm oil at the foreign ministry building on Monday (20/11/2017) as reported by CNN Indonesia,
Utomo said that some 40 percent of palm oil plantation in Indonesia are managed by smallholders and if the commodity’s development is hindered, it would carry a significant impact on the income of this small farmers.
Therefore, those opposing the development of the palm oil commodity in Indonesia means that they are not supporting the achievement of sustainable development in Indonesia.
“The palm oil commodity is the most important essentials for smallholders in Indonesia. If this is continuously supported, then how many millions of people can be lifted out of poverty? This runs in line with the UN SDGs,” Utomo said.
The official’s statement came amid the continues negative campaign launched against palm oil producing countries such as Indonesia, In April, the European Parliament even came out with a resolution titled Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforests.
The resolution said that the palm oil industry was behind the conversion of land and forests in producing countries such as Indonesia and palm oil is also being blamed for deforestation as well as land and forest fires.
Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s two top palm oil producers have strongly condemned the resolution and Indonesia, has through a number of fora urged the European Union to not be discriminative against palm oil.
President Joko Widodo even too the palm oil issue during the summit to mark the 40th anniversary of the partnership between the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila last week.
“The Resolution of the European Parliament and a number of European countries on palm oil and deforestation, as well as various blak campaign, not only disadvantage economic interest but also damage the image of palm oil producing countries,” Jokowi said according to a release from the State Secretariat.
Jokowi demanded that the European Union halts its discrimination against palm oil. A number of policies that puts economic interests of producing countries at a disadvantage and also damage their image, have to be dropped.