KUALA LUMPUR: The two largest palm oil exporters in the world have joined hands to establish a council to strengthen co-operation and improve the welfare of smallholders.
Malaysia and Indonesia, which contribute 85% of the world’s palm oil production, signed the charter for the establishment of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) on the sidelines of the 27th Asean Summit here yesterday.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas and Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Dr Rizal Ramli signed on behalf of their governments.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Indonesian President Joko Widodo witnessed the ceremony.
“We hope the council will assist both governments in uplifting the welfare of the palm oil smallholders,” Douglas told reporters later.
Dr Rizal said the council would also address issues such as deforestation and bush fires to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly industry.
As the founding members of the council, both countries would contribute US$5mil (RM21mil) each to finance its initial operations.
Douglas said the council’s membership would be extended to other palm oil cultivating countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Thailand, Ghana, and the Philippines later.
“Once other countries join, another procedure of financing will be decided by the ministerial committee,” Douglas added.
Both ministers also declared the Framework of Principles for Sustainable Palm Oil, called e+POP, which contains nine principles on regulations on sustainable palm oil development.
Douglas said e+POP would be benchmarked against other international standards.