Agri Business

Palm industry adopts sustainability standards

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on December 12, 2019

Stakeholders of the domestic palm oil sector have started adopting sustainability standards — the Indian Palm Oil Sustainability (IPOS) Framework — on a voluntary basis.

Godrej Agrovet Ltd became the first company in India to cover about 2,000 small holder palm oil suppliers under the IPOS certification by Control Union, said the Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) of India, the apex trade body, in a statement. The IPOS Framework has been jointly developed by the SEA, Solidaridad and the Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research.

Oil palm is grown in about 3.49 lakh hectares in India, while the potential exists in about 1.93 million hectares as of October 2019. The current crude palm oil production is estimated at 2.8 lakh tonnes.

“Edible oils are a big drain on foreign exchange with India being one of the biggest net importers and 60 per cent of total oil imports is palm oil. Also, with larger emphasis given on increasing the income of farmers, this framework will help. India’s North-East offers great potential for oil palm plantation with nearly 2,80,000 hectares land suitable for oil palm. Currently, only 30,000 hectares is in oil palm plantation. This framework will assist the Central government to encourage oil palm plantation in North-East under various schemes,” said SEA President Atul Chaturvedi.

Shatadru Chattopadhayay, Managing Director of Solidaridad Asia, said the IPOS framework was created by the Indian palm oil industry, for the Indian palm oil industry and owned by Indian palm oil stakeholders. “The IPOS programme would facilitate the Indian palm oil industry to be ready for facing future customer demands, safeguard the competitiveness, improve relationships and loyalty in the supply chain within and outside the country and position India as one of the global leaders in sustainable production and trade in palm oil,” he said.

BV Mehta, Executive Director, SEA, said oil palm was the most efficient oil crop in terms of land use. The crop has become an increasingly important driver of economic development, improved food security and poverty reduction in various countries. “India is the world’s largest consumer of palm oil. Framework and guidelines based on Indian conditions and ground realities are needed to address different aspects of sustainability in production and trade of palm oil. The IPOS framework has the potential to address key sustainability concerns and barriers, while fulfilling the commitment of Indian palm oil industry towards sustainability,” Mehta said.

The IPOS standard was recently recognised by the Indonesian and Malaysian Palm Oil Board through an agreement with SEA and Solidaridad. The agreement recognises IPOS as India’s national sustainability framework for palm oil and considers it equivalent to Indonesian and Malaysian national sustainability standards for palm oil production and trade between the Asian countries.

Published on December 12, 2019

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