KUALA LUMPUR: National Association of Smallholders (NASH) is joining hands with Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) to petition against the European Union’s (EU) plan to ratify European Parliament's resolution that curbs palm oil demand.
"We strongly support FELDA's petition in upholding the truth about palm oil nutrition and good agricultutal practices by our members in planting oil palms," said NASH president Datuk Aliasak Ambia.
"Malaysia's oil palm industry is tightly regulated and more than 600,000 small farmers are part of this supply chain that is significant to Malaysia's economy," he told NST Business.
"Out of Malaysia's 5.8 million hectares planted with oil palm trees that produce oxygen and contribute to carbon sinking, 40 per cent are cultivated by small farmers," he said in a telephone interview today.
Aliasak described the European Parliament's discriminatory stance and influential European food manufacturers unjustifiably placing the “no palm oil” labels on their products as immorally defaming palm oil.
He was commenting on reports that members of the European Parliament were gearing up to ratify the proposed resolution to ban importation of palm oil into the EU.
Spurious allegations claiming oil palm cultivation is causing massive deforestation have insidiously manifested into barriers to palm oil trade.
"False allegations causes confusion and cuts demand. This inevitably drags palm oil pricing in the international market," he noted.
“It is immoral to tell lies about oil palm cultivation. It is wrong to twist the truth about palm oil nutrition. We take this seriously because EU's action is affecting the livelihoods of so many farmers here," Aliasak said.
"I would like to highlight this fact that it is through the selling of fresh fruit bunches that smallholders can save enough money for their children to further their tertiary education,” he added.
Aliasak then said deforestation slurs by the European Parliament's resolution sits oddly with the fact that oil palm is actually one of the world’s most sustainable crops.
Oil World, a Hamburg-based trade journal, said oil palm is the world’s most efficient oil crop because one can harvest five tonnes of oil per hectare.
This is 10 times more productive than soyabean planted in the US and five times more than rapeseed, Europe’s main oil crop.