KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 8): The government has urged for the European Union Deforestation-free Regulation (EUDR) implementation to be carried out in a fair and balanced manner, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
When officiating the MPOB International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition 2023 (PIPOC 2023) on Wednesday, he highlighted the government's commitment to taking proactive and responsible steps to safeguard the country's palm oil production from having adverse effects on the environment's well-being.
“The government had taken very aggressive and responsible measures so the EU (European Union) should show some sort of appreciation. At least give recognition and recognise the efforts by Malaysia, as well as Indonesia in this regard,” Anwar stressed.
“The government has set regulations to ensure that the palm oil produced meets the international food safety standards of importing countries, including EU requirements.
“The new Prime Minister of Thailand [Srettha Thavisin] has also given me the assurance that Thailand will come on board to work together with Malaysia and Indonesia and hopefully other countries in presenting our case, particularly to the EU,” he said.
Malaysian agricultural commodity products, primarily palm oil, timber, cocoa, and rubber exports, will fall under the purview of the EUDR starting in January next year. Nevertheless, this ban has prompted industry concerns regarding its potential impact on farmers and producers, particularly smallholders.
In response to these concerns, Malaysia, along with Indonesia, as the world's largest palm oil producers, has reached an agreement with the EU to establish an ad hoc joint task force.
This collaborative effort aims to foster mutual understanding and address the apprehensions surrounding the EUDR, to ensure the regulation does not negatively affect the livelihoods of agricultural commodity producers.
Anwar said he strongly believes that oil palm is in fact the solution to deforestation as the country’s palm oil only takes up only 2% of the total 312 million hectares of total area for oilseed crops production globally.
As sustainable production is the way forward for the palm oil industry, the prime minister also mentioned that almost 100% of the plantations and palm oil mills in the country have been certified sustainable under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification scheme.
“Malaysia is also committed to protecting its forests, flora and fauna through conservation and sustainable management. Malaysia pledged to maintain 50% of its landmass under forest cover at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and it is still intact.
“Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) flagship publication reported that since 1990, 22 countries, including Malaysia have succeeded in raising national food security levels while at the same time preserving and increasing the forest cover,” he added.
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