The Oil Palm

Experts Speak Out in Support of Malaysian Palm Oil During Minister’s Visit to Europe

Experts and industry officials throughout Europe are speaking out in support of Malaysian palm oil amid a visit by Malaysian officials including Minister for Plantation Industries and Commodities Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and representatives of the Malaysian palm oil industry. Minister Dompok and a delegation of Malaysian government and industry officials are visiting key European markets to meet with counterparts to highlight Malaysian businesses and exports.

In Bucharest, a leading cooking fats and oils supplier Render Com explained the company’s preference for importing Malaysian palm oil. Render Com Director General Virginia Stancu stated, “We import Malaysian palm oil due to the positive feedback received from our customers and we foresee a market uptrend towards the end of the year.” The Malaysian Palm Oil Council will be hosting a Palm Oil Trade Seminar in Bucharest on September 18.

The Malaysian delegation’s visit to Bucharest followed a visit to France, a key market for palm oil exports where food producers export throughout Europe and the world. During their visit to France, Minister Dompok met with French Minister for Agriculture Stephane Le Foll and French journalists to communicate the important role of palm oil to a healthy and sustainable diet.

The question of palm oil’s sustainability and health benefits was also the focus of analysis by a France-based research organization, the Institut economique Molinari. Researchers with the institute, following a rising debate in France about palm oil, sought to gain a better understanding of why palm oil is such a controversial and much debated food source. Far from the maligned food source that environmental NGOs claim it to be, the Institute found that palm oil has in fact a key role to play in both producer and consumer markets the researchers wrote in the French financial daily La Tribune.

“[M]ost activists justify their actions on environmental grounds and pressure manufacturers and retailers to give up on palm oil. Such an attitude, however, is short‐sighted,” the authors concluded. “It will ultimately fail to achieve the alleged broader goals of environmental remediation and improvements in the living standard of poorer populations, since no other source of vegetable oil than palm oil can actually spare more land and deliver more accessible, abundant and affordable calories to people worldwide.”

Experts and industry officials speaking out in favor of Malaysian palm oil reflects a clear disconnect between public perception of Malaysian palm oil versus the scientific and industry consensus of its important role as a sustainable and healthy food source. With environmental NGOs engaging in high profile misinformation campaigns, it is becoming clear that consumers are being misled at the cost of their health, and the ability for countries like Malaysia to develop sustainably.