The Palm Scribe

RSPO Admits Important Roles of Palm Oil Smallholders

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is committed to focus on achieving better market transformation in the palm oil industry and, therefore, attracting as many participating smallholders, whose roles are important to this sector, as possible.

“40 percent of palm oil smallholders in Malaysia, 45 percent in Indonesia, and almost 80 percent in Thailand contribute to the palm oil industry. The smallholders are important and we should not forget them. We need to ensure that they are developing and we will not leave them behind,” said RSPO CEO Darrel Webber in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, on Wednesday (14/11).

At the press conference of the 16th Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil, Webber emphasized that smallholders become the main subject to promoting the future of sustainability in the palm oil industry.

To engage smallholders into the sustainability system, RSPO is preparing a sustainability certification standard specifically for smallholders to be implemented by 2019.

According to Webber, attracting smallholders into the supply chain is one of the main objectives that RSPO organization is focusing.

“We are focusing on three things: Innovation, inclusivity, and commitment,” he said.

In response to the negative perception of the palm oil industry in Europe, United Plantations Executive Director Carl Nielsen said that every product has its own positive and negative sides.

“Whatever you consumed, if it is too much, it will be harmful,” Nielsen said further by emphasizing that the palm oil industry is treated unfairly in Europe.

(left to right) Darrel Webber and Carl Nielsen at a press conference in RT 16

“This happens because of the competitive vegetable oil market in Europe. European countries are afraid that they will lose their market shares,” he explained.

According to Nielsen, perception is as well important. “If you are lucky to have olive oil in your land, then, we are lucky to have palm oil in ours, and as you can see, people here are healthy, right?”

Responding to Europe’s allegation for the palm oil industry as the cause of deforestation, Nielsen explained that palm oil plantations only requires 0.4 percent of land in the world, yet, they produce the biggest source of vegetable oil and there is no other commodity that can surpass palm oil.

On a different occasion, Indonesia RSPO Director Tiur Romandang was aware of the declining price of palm oil in Indonesia. “We are not in control of the decline. RSPO never speaks about the market, we educate it,” she said to The Palm Scribe.

Tiur also explained that RSPO is not aiming at the profit. It is aiming at the improvement on the productivity for palm oil industry development.

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