Malaysia exported 3.7 million tonnes of palm oil produce to Europe in 2017.
This represented 12 per cent of the global palm oil export that year.
However, the European Union Parliament decided to restrict and ban palm oil biofuel by 2030 in the Delegated Regulation Supplementing Directive 2018/2001 of the European Union Renewable Energy Directive II (or the Delegated Act).
The reason for this is due to claims of excessive deforestation. As a result, the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) decided to seek justice for countries with oil palm plantations through the World Trade Organisation.
CPOPC is an intergovernmental organisation for palm oil-producing countries established in 2015. Its members include Malaysia and Indonesia.
The council aims to promote, develop and strengthen cooperation in oil palm cultivation and industry among member countries.
It also focuses on Sustainable Development Goals.
By 2030, the CPOPC will come up with the Masterplan for the Strategic Implementation of SDGs in the Palm Oil Sector.
The EU Parliament had accused Malaysia and Indonesia of destroying forests and neglecting the environment for oil palm plantations.
To counter this allegation, the Malaysian government had prepared programme to raise awareness of the truth among the anti-palm oil community. This includes:
WORKING with state governments to replant trees and to limit the hectarage to 6.5 million ha;
RECOMMENDATION of the preparation of official maps for oil palm areas in the country for public access; and,
The government introduced the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification. This is to establish and operate a credible, internationally-recognised palm oil certification scheme and promote sustainable management of palm oil.
With MSPO, smallholders can enjoy many benefits. It provides development of certification standard, accreditation requirements and notification of certification bodies, application by potential clients for certification audits, and supply chain traceability.
The Primary Industries Ministry wants all oil palm planters to be certified by the end of this year.
However, it was reported that, as at end-Aug 2019, only 51 per cent of oil palm planters are MSPO-certified.
To achieve 100 per cent MSPO, the government seeks to raise more awareness about the importance of certification, especially among smallholders.
MSPO is a good initiative by the government to raise productivity in oil palm plantation while ensuring environment protection and welfare of communities are sustained.
Ajda Nuha Ahmad Daniel
Researcher, Institute for Research & Development of Policy