THE International Palm Oil Congress, or PIPOC 2003, organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board ended yesterday with a challenge to industry players to embark on newly identified applications for palm oil while focusing on better market access, branding, efficient production costs, quality and competitiveness.
Malaysian Palm Oil Promotion Council (MPOPC) chief executive officer Datuk Haron Siraj during a panel discussion on Positioning Palm Oil in Global Oils and Fats Economy: Prospects and Challenges said the bio-diesel project made from blending palm oil and diesel, for example, had the potential to become a powerhouse for the industry, which had yet to be fully exploited.
“This is one of the new frontiers that we can further develop as the non-edible side of palm oil in the international playing field in Europe and the United States, which are concerned over the environment aspects.”
He also touched on the effective branding and packaging of palm oil and palm oil products to effectively attract domestic and international demand.
“We need to seriously explore the boundless opportunities and applications for palm oil in both the edible and non-edible segments. The biggest advantage is that palm oil is an environmentally-friendly product,” he added.
Haron said MPOPC would continue to push for further promotion and marketing of palm oil in the international markets.
“Now our biggest challenge is to on par with the other 16 major world oils and fats producers,” Haron said.
Haron said he believed that there was a lot of scope for palm oil to work synergistically with other oils and fats, particularly soybean, sunflower and rapeseed.
“We must work together to make vegetable oils the preferred and acceptable oil to consumers worldwide,” he added.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Palm Oil Association chief executive M.R. Chandran said the time had come to identify the actual major users of Malaysian palm oil (not importers) in India, China, Pakistan and the Middle East.
“Let's give them special treatment, identify their needs and do special packaging so that we can sustain these important export markets.”
Chandran also said local palm oil plantations must continuously enhance production yield per hectare, and at the same time find ways to reduce costs.
“Genetically modified products do not help increase productivity but rather reduce losses in production as well as costs,” he said.
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