Jakarta: “Since long time, Indonesia has already started the efforts to establish a sustainable palm oil industry. Considering the contribution of the palm oil industry to the Indonesian economy, the Government of Indonesia has an interest in ensuring the industry to adopt sustainability principles,” said Deputy FM A.M. Fachir when opening the seminar “CRC990: Towards Indonesian Sustainability Palm Oil” at Gedung Pancasila, Jakarta, (11/9).
The seminar attended by approximately 70 people was organized by the Agency for Policy Review and Development (BPPK), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to improve the understanding of Indonesian sustainable palm oil industry and as one of the efforts to counter the black campaign against Indonesian palm oil.
Attending the seminar was Executive Director of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC), Mahendra Siregar, Expert Staff on Economic Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ridwan Hassan, Ambassador and Representative of Indonesian palm oil producers and users such as Germany, Italy, Colombia and Spain, as well as government and non-government organizations concerned with palm oil issues.
During the last 5 years, 3 universities in Indonesia, namely University of Jambi (Unja), Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), and University of Tadulako (Untad) Palu have formed a research consortium with the University of Göttingen, Germany, to intensify the study of sustainable palm oil. The collaboration is called Collaborative Research Center 990 (CRC 990): Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest Transformation Systems (Sumatra, Indonesia)/EFForTS.
CRC 990 research has produced 62 scientific articles published in various international scientific journals and can be used to rebut the black campaign against the Indonesian palm oil.
Indonesia takes seriously the negative campaign because it is a threat that harms the palm oil industry. Currently, Indonesia is the largest producer of palm oil in the world. In 2016, Indonesia produced more than 35 million tons of palm oil and 25 million tons of which were exported worldwide. The export value of Indonesian palm oil reaches more than USD 17 billion, about 12.32% of total Indonesian exports.
The negative campaign against Indonesian palm oil has been started since 30 years ago. Initially the focus of the negative campaigns was health issues, but then widened to various aspects, such as economic, social and environment. One of the major challenges arose when the EU Parliament adopted a resolution on palm oil and deforestation of rainforests on 4 April 2017. The resolution highlighted the relations of palm oil with the deforestation, forest fires, ecosystem damage and suspected that there is a human rights violation in the palm oil industry.
In addition to the Resolution of EU Parliament, the Norwegian Parliament has also passed a resolution which in essence calls the Government of Norway to immediately issue a public procurement rules that prohibit the purchase and use of palm oil-based biofuels and the derivative products of palm oil.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to implement all-out efforts to address the negative campaign of Indonesian palm oil through various forums, both on national and international scale, by providing full support in the Inaugural activities for the Ministerial Meeting of Palm Oil Producing Countries, to be held by CPOPC in Nusa Dua, Bali, on November 1-3, 2017.