Stop dis­crim­i­nat­ing against palm oil, Euro­pean Union told

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Euro­pean Union ( EU) 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 yes­ter­day.

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 non­govern­men­tal 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 is or­gan­ised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

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