India, which is one of the major consumers of palm oil in Asia, has urged global palm oil producers to pay attention to the needs of Asian purchasers also.

Speaking at the second meeting of the Asian Palm Oil Alliance (APOA) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Ajay Jhunjhunwala, President of the Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India, said all major producers tend to respond more to the demands from buyers in Europe rather than pay attention to the needs of Asian purchasers.

European Union accounts for less than 9 per cent of the global palm oil imports. Asian buyers share around 40 per cent. But producers try to comply with EU’s demands and ignore Asian buyers,” he said.

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Stating that the Asian stakeholders have followed different requirements of sustainable palm oil production over the last two decades and trade shaped outside the continent, he said, “We hope that the APOA would strengthen Asia’s role in palm oil sustainability disclosures while safeguarding the economic and business interests of Asian palm oil consuming countries.”

Dorab Mistry, Director of Godrej International Ltd, suggested also inviting Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil stakeholders as they are important part of the system.

He said India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, among other Asian countries, consume 40 per cent of palm oil, and they do not create hurdles for palm oil-producing countries. Key producers -- Indonesia and Malaysia -- need to realise that Asian countries are their most trusted buyers and that they make purchases without creating trouble for the industry, he said.

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The Secretary General of APOA, Suresh Motwnai, said APOA is a coordinated platform of the palm oil consuming countries to unitedly address common problems, interests, and aspirations of the Asian palm oil sector stakeholders. This will help Asian countries to play a decisive role in defining and implementing sustainable development of palm oil sector.

More members soon

Stating that the remaining Asian consuming countries, such as Cambodia, Iran, Bhutan, Oman, Dubai, etc., would also join the alliance soon, he said the alliance would play a key role towards changing the negative narrative about palm oil in the interest of Asian countries.

The aim of APOA is to facilitate cooperation amongst its members to secure an efficient, economical, and regular supply of sustainable palm oil adhering to national sustainability standards, national laws, and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he said.

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In his introductory note about APOA, Atul Chaturvedi, President of APOA, said APOA is formed to empower several Asian countries for whom palm oil is a source of affordable food and nutrition. The APOA is expected to safeguard the economic and business interests of the palm oil-consuming countries and create a level-playing field for all fats and oils used in food, feed, and oleo-chemicals in Asia. The membership would be further expanded in coming years to include other select companies or industry organisations operating in the production and/or refining of palm oil in Asia, he said.