Kuala Lumpur – The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) condemns the vote in Tuscany’s Regional Council in favour of a discriminatory ban removing palm oil products from public tenders. The proposed ban was passed thanks to votes from Prime Minister Renzi’s Democratic Party, despite the proposal having zero scientific or environmental evidence behind it.
The CEO of MPOC, Dr Yusof Basiron, issued the following statement:
“The decision by Prime Minister Renzi’s Democratic Party to support the misleading campaign conducted by the 5 Star Movement against palm oil is offensive to over 1 million Malaysians who rely on the palm oil sector. The motion is based on untrue and unscientific allegations that have consistently been proven to be factually wrong by multiple researchers, academics and experts worldwide.
“The motion bizarrely attacks Malaysia as one of the worst polluters in the world after the US and China. This is completely false and is disproved by all credible international organisations. The Tuscany Regional Council is not one of those credible international organisations. Malaysia has a proven track record on efficient land use and forest conservation, as recognised at the highest level by the United Nations. Italy’s emissions are, in fact, higher than Malaysia’s.
“It is extremely disappointing to see Prime Minister Renzi’s Democratic Party blindly following 5 Star Movement.
“The Italian Government should condemn this unfriendly act against Malaysia, and the 300,000 small farmers for whom palm oil is the source of income and poverty alleviation. Malaysia and Italy benefit from a strong friendship and growing trade links that could be undermined by such unprofessional and inaccurate allegations.”
Key Facts about Malaysian Palm Oil
Malaysia is the second-largest producer of palm oil, and a major exporter. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) represents the interests of palm oil growers and small farmers, in Malaysia.
40% of all oil palm plantations in Malaysia are owned or farmed by small farmers, who have benefited from oil palm cultivation. Palm oil has been a major factor in Malaysia reducing poverty from 50% in the 1960s, down to less than 5% today. The palm oil industry directly employs more than 570,000 people, with another 290,000 people employed downstream.
Economic Impact of Palm Oil in Italy
According to respected economic analysts Europe Economics, Palm Oil contributes substantially to the Italian economy. 18,000 jobs in Italy are dependent on Palm Oil imports; Palm Oil contributes 361m EUR in tax revenue to Italy; and over 1.53bn EUR in Italian GDP is attributed to Palm Oil imports.
The allegation that Malaysia is deforesting and destroying biodiversity is inaccurate. The Malaysian Government has committed to protecting at least 50% of land area as forest – a bold and far-sighted environmental commitment that no other country has matched.
This commitment by Malaysia has been recognized by the United Nations and the World Bank. Malaysia is a recognized world-leader in forest protection.
Malaysia is committed to a balanced policy that allows for both land development for agriculture (including palm oil) and forest protection. Palm oil covers just 0.3% of the world’s agricultural land, and has the highest yield of any oilseed crop.
Health & Nutrition
Palm oil is a balanced oil, with 50% saturated and 50% unsaturated fatty acids. This balance provides excellent qualities for baking and food production. Palm oil is free of GMOs, and has been used as a replacement for dangerous trans fats, in Europe.
Multiple researchers and experts across Europe and worldwide confirm the many benefits of palm oil, and that the level of consumption in Europe is perfectly normal. Institutions confirming these facts on palm oil and health include studies from the University of Cambridge; the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition; the French Food & Health Foundation; and the Mario Negri Institute in Milan.