KUALA LUMPUR: Africa, a continent with a population of over 1.3 billion and expected to increase to 2.5 billion by 2050, offers bright prospects for Malaysian palm oil, with demand likely to come from industries such as food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, say palm oil experts.
“Malaysia’s position as a leading supplier of sustainable and quality oil products must be exploited to the fullest, and there is ample opportunity for growth of palm oil supply in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), particularly southern Africa, ” said Dawie Theron, Sime Darby Oils South Africa’s senior trading manager.
Theron was one of the panelists for the “Sub-Saharan Africa - The Next Frontier for Malaysian Palm Oil?” webinar yesterday, hosted by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).
“Southern Africa is typically following European standards when it comes to food quality and safety, as such, the current sustainability and responsible sourcing requirements in Europe will hit the Southern African market in the near future.
“We will very soon see that price over quality and sustainability will be replaced by quality and sustainability above all, ” he said.
Theron also noted that global brands like Nestle, Aspen, Ferrero Rocher and Unilever are already demanding for quality and sustainability in goods to be used to manufacture their products in southern Africa.
Having said that, he said Sime Darby Oils South Africa has just completed a new project and will be bringing in “No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation” (NDPE) palm stearin out of Malaysia into the South African market.
This would be in addition to the Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) SG-certified low glyceride palm olein that Sime Darby Oils South Africa has been sourcing out of Malaysia for the past 18 months.
Theron also said the Malaysian standard for sustainable palm oil production (MSPO) should be promoted and advocated to global brands more effectively.
“The MPOC also needs to think of setting up a regional office in southern Africa. With an office, we need to start challenging the misperception on palm oil and start pushing and promoting the qualities that make Malaysian palm oil the superior product that it is, ” he said.
Another panelist, MPOB representative Nor Iskahar Nordin said that demand from countries like Mozambique, Madagascar, Angola and Mauritania has been increasing.
“Consumer’s taste and growth in the hotel, restaurant and café (HoReCa) sector in these countries are changing, and post-Covid-19, we are expecting a surge in food consumption, hence more demand for palm oil.” — Bernama