Sunday 14 Jul 2024
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JAKARTA (April 25): The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) has called on the European Union to delay the implementation of deforestation rules by at least a year for small businesses, its secretary general said on Thursday.

The Jakarta-based council, whose members include Indonesia, Malaysia and Honduras, has said the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) would burden smallholders with onerous administrative procedures, which if they can't finish, might result in their exclusion from the global supply chain.

The law, aimed at rooting deforestation out of the bloc's supply chains for beef, palm oil and other agricultural products sold in Europe, is set to take effect on Dec 30 for large and medium enterprises. For small and micro businesses, it takes effect on June 30, 2025.

"It takes time for smallholders to meet the certification requirements. That's why we are asking for a delay for smallholders so that they have time to improve," Rizal Affandi Lukman, the council's secretary general, told Reuters.

"If EUDR is implemented, (the supply chain) will be segregated, mills will no longer accept fresh fruit bunches from uncertified smallholders. Smallholders could no longer go to the nearest mills ... This will be a problem for producing countries," Rizal said.

A spokesperson for the EU's Jakarta embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The council has been facilitating talks between members and the EU about the regulations. Its next meeting is in September.

Palm producing countries have also asked the EU to recognise existing palm oil sustainability standards by the producing countries such as Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) and Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certifications.

The EU is Indonesia's fourth biggest palm oil market, buying about 12% of the country's palm oil shipments. Other than palm oil, the EUDR could also affect Indonesia's other top agriculture exports like coffee, cocoa and rubber.

Separately, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said more countries have raised concerns about the EUDR following Indonesia's lead, including majority of EU's own member states and the US.

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