Indonesia kicks off maiden international conference on sustainable palm oil

Indonesia kicked off on Tuesday the first international conference on the country's sustainable palm oil (ISPO) scheme in an effort to push for its implementation.

“Various challenges in ISPO implementation should be accommodated by guiding smallholder farmers and cooperation among all stakeholders,” Agriculture Ministry director general for plantations Bambang said in his opening speech.

The conference runs until Wednesday. The first international forum for smallholder farmers also takes place on the sidelines of the event.

Bambang noted only 12 percent of Indonesia’s 11.9 million hectares of oil palm plantation land are ISPO certified.

On the same occasion, 38 firms and two smallholder groups obtained ISPO certificates, making a total of 266 institutions obtaining the certificate to date.

Indonesia, the world’s biggest oil palm producer, has been increasing its efforts to practice sustainable oil palm cultivation amid a mounting push from the international community to reduce the rate of deforestation caused by the commodity.

On April 4, the European Parliament issued a resolution to only import sustainable palm oil after 2020.

The parliament has called for a single international sustainable palm oil standard, which has raised objections from Indonesia and Malaysia, the latter being the world’s second biggest oil palm producer.

Local businesspeople deem the call to be unfair and alleged the resolution was merely a business strategy to suppress the lucrative palm oil exports to the European Union, which also produces rapeseed and sunflower oil.


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