Stop discriminating against palm oil, EU told

KUALA LUMPUR: The European Union must stop discriminating against palm oil and reverse its temporary decision to ban its use in biofuels by 2020, says United Plantations Bhd.

Its Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Carl Bek-Nielsen, said the ban would send a terrible message to those who needed help the most, the smallholders.

"What about the 16 other oils and fats? By doing so, the EU is building more trade barriers and it must stop this crop apartheid," he told reporters on the sidelines of the first day of the International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition 2017 (PIPOC 2017), here today.

The EU, the second largest global palm oil importer, consumes seven million tonnes annually, while the US imports 1.2 million tonnes.

"That is 8.2 million tonnes of palm oil going into highly critical and sensitive markets. We cannot just say forget this market and send the oil elsewhere because even China and India cannot absorb them," he said.

While pushing for sustainability in oil palm planting, Bek-Nielsen also urged consumer goods manufacturers, retailers and non-governmental organisations to hold their end of the deal by buying sustainably-planted oil palm.

He said the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil-certified companies currently produce 12 million tonnes of palm oil, while the demand was merely six million tonnes.

"This erodes trust among the grower fraternity. The buyers must also show more commitment towards taking up the burden, not just putting the burden on the shoulders of growers," he said.

The three-day PIPOC 2017, themed 'Treasuring the Past, Charting the Future', is organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. — Bernama