Thursday, 28 August 2008

It is worth noting the actions proposed below have only come about as a result of consumer pressure - a great deal of this came from supporters of Nature Alert and Orangutan Appeal UK.

Implement RSPO, Oil Palm Planters And Producers Told

SANDAKAN, Aug 27 (Bernama) -- Oil palm planters and producers in Sabah have been asked to implement the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification to ensure continued export market access for their products to the European market.

State Minister for Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said they should not regard RSPO as burdensome as it served as a reminder for their business advancement.

"Whether they like it or not, RSPO must be implemented as eventually they have to conform to the standards stipulated by consumer countries.

"The European Union (EU) has set stringent conditions that need to be complied with if they wish to continue exporting palm oil products to EU member states," he told reporters after opening a seminar on clean oil palm production mechanism.

Among elements considered under RSPO certification is product manufacture labelling to enable importers to check whether the product was produced through of the product which indicates if it has been produced through sustainable methods and met EU standards.

"They don't want the products to come from an estate or a palm oil refinery that does not conform to EU standards and if they are doubtful, they can visit the estate and reject the product," he said.

Masidi stressed planters and producers must understand RSPO so that when the EU enforced it one day, they have no choice but to comply."If we are not ready, palm oil exports from Malaysia will find it hard to penetrate the European market.

This will be a problem for them and will harm the country's economy," he said.He said Sabah remained as the state with the largest oil palm planted area, covering 1.27 million hectares or 30 percent area under oil palm cover in the country.

Sabah also has 115 palm oil refineries, the highest number in the country, with most of them concentrated in Kinabatangan district.On the seminar jointly organised by the East Malaysia Planters' Association and the Kuala Lumpur-based Royal Dutch Embassy, Masidi said planters and producers would be exposed to the new mechanism to reduce toxic gas emissions in the oil palm industry which contributes to global warming.

Planters and producers will also have an insight into sustainable practices compliance in their daily operations besides knowing the latest conditions imposed, especially RSPO certification, by consumer nations.-- BERNAMA