Strategic Shift to Secure Malaysia’s Palm Oil Industry

New Delhi (India), October 5: In a bid to safeguard Malaysia’s palm oil industry against the risks associated with overreliance on a single market, Belvinder Kaur Sron, CEO of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), has urged a strategic shift towards exploring other high-potential markets for palm oil exports. This call to diversify comes as Malaysia’s palm oil industry faces the need to adapt to evolving global regulations and market preferences.

Speaking at the National Palm Oil Conference 2023 (NPOC23), Belvinder emphasized the importance of positioning Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) as a recognized compliance pathway for the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR). She highlighted that this recognition could open the doors to the European market for Malaysian palm oil producers and further enhance the industry’s reputation as a sustainable and deforestation-free choice and to ensure Malaysian palm oil small holders continue to have access to global markets.

The EU, as the third-largest destination for palm oil exports and consumption last year, holds significant economic importance for Malaysia’s palm oil sector. In light of this, Belvinder stressed the potential repercussions of discontinuing palm oil exports to the EU, especially on current and future joint ventures between Malaysian companies and European counterparts.

Belvinder explained that meeting EUDR standards entails complying with regulatory benchmarks and fulfilling due diligence requirements. Notably, the MSPO standards align with the EUDR’s regulatory requirements, prohibiting deforestation after 2019 and mandating compliance with all relevant laws. Moreover, these standards facilitate the traceability of imported commodities to their sources, meeting the criteria set forth in Article 3 of the EUDR.

She also drew attention to Article 9 of the EUDR, which outlines the due diligence requirements for importers, including detailed product descriptions, material quantities, and the verification of deforestation-free status. By positioning MSPO as a reliable certification scheme, Malaysia can ensure that its palm oil is well-prepared to meet these stringent due diligence requirements, thus securing access to the European market.

In addition to the EU, Belvinder emphasized the necessity of exploring new and burgeoning markets. She urged the palm oil industry to expand its footprint in regions such as East & West Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East, while also intensifying efforts to bolster palm oil consumption in existing importing countries. Diversifying into these markets would help mitigate the risks of overdependence on a single market and enhance the resilience of Malaysia’s palm oil industry.

In conclusion, Belvinder Kaur Sron’s insights shed light on the critical importance of positioning MSPO as a pathway to EUDR compliance and the broader goal of redefining the global perception of palm oil. Simultaneously, her call to explore new markets underscores the industry’s adaptability and commitment to sustainable growth in the face of evolving challenges and opportunities. Malaysia’s palm oil sector stands poised to navigate this changing landscape by fostering sustainability and diversification.

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