May 25, 2010
RSPO To Contract Out Accreditation Of CSPO To ASI
From Durga Varma
KOTA KINABALU, May 25 (Bernama) -- The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), in a move to segregate functions, will soon contract Accreditation Services International (ASI) of Germany as an accreditation agency to take over the functions of awarding certification for sustainable crude palm oil, its Secretary-General Dr Vengeta Rao said Tuesday.
He said "there has to be separation of powers" as the RSPO cannot be "writing and policing" the accreditation process.
Speaking to reporters, after presenting a paper at the end of the two-day International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference here today, he said a pilot project would be carried out soon and within one-and-a-half years from now, this would become a reality.
He also said this would be a significant development as more segments within the palm oil industry were coming on board to seek certification and the latest to join the bandwagon were retailers.
"From an average of between four and five applications a month in 2008, the RSPO is now receiving between 10 and 15 applications, monthly.
"The volume of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) is also on the rise and it will reach two million tonnes in June," he said, adding that CSPO was the single largest certified crop available.
Vengeta Rao also said the volume was expected to increase to 2.5 million tonnes by year end, based on the intention expressed by producers, traders and retailers to certify palm oil to meet European Union's requirements.
He added offtake of CSPO was also improving and as January, supply and demand almost matched.
RSPO, with 328 ordinary members to date, is an association carrying out their activities in and around the entire supply chain for palm oil, to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through co-operation open dialogue with its stakeholders.
Vengeta Rao added that the organisation was also looking into how smallholders, including cooperatives and independent millers, can be brought into the mainstream of certification and how to support them financially in the process.
Meanwhile, Ramesh Vello, the planting advisor with Tradewinds Plantation Bhd, told delegates peat soil was a precious commodity and its conservation and development should be equally treated as an essential part of land use in the state.
The company was the largest investor from Peninsular Malaysia to invest in the state, having developed 75,000 hectares, todate.
He said shortage of good land resources in Malaysia had forced agriculture , particularly oil palm cultivation into marginal soil including peat soil in Sarawak.
Peat swamp forest were recently acknowledged as an ecosystem with a unique capacity to store high levels of carbon.
Ramesh pointed out that those wanting to develop peat soil for palm oil cultivation must adopt a strategy of being selective and practice zero burning in order to conserve the environment.