DPM Fadillah confident meeting on EUDR will be fruitful

30 May 2023 10:37am
BRUSSELS, May 30 - Deputy Prime Minister and Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof having a light moment with the Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs, Republic of Indonesia Airlangga Hartarto during the Dinner with Embassies and the Secretariat of the Council of Palm Producing Countries (CPOPC) in conjunction with the mission Trade to the European Union (EU) in Brussels Belgium. - BERNAMA photo (2023) COPYRIGHT RESERVED
BRUSSELS, May 30 - Deputy Prime Minister and Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof having a light moment with the Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs, Republic of Indonesia Airlangga Hartarto during the Dinner with Embassies and the Secretariat of the Council of Palm Producing Countries (CPOPC) in conjunction with the mission Trade to the European Union (EU) in Brussels Belgium. - BERNAMA photo (2023) COPYRIGHT RESERVED
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BRUSSELS, Belgium - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Plantation and Commodities Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof is confident that the meeting here on the European Union’s Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) will be fruitful amid the higher level of engagement.

He noted that all this while, engagements had been at the officers' level.

"Now the commitment is from the ministry level. Not only ministry. I am coming to represent the government of Malaysia, not only as a Plantation and Commodities Minister, but also Deputy Prime Minister,” he told Malaysian media at the press conference here today.

The mission to meet the EU is a joint mission with Indonesia, which is the biggest producer of palm oil.

"So that shows our commitment towards sustainability and not only what is good for Malaysia but the whole world,” he added.

This is Fadillah’s first official visit and the mission to the EU is a joint mission with the government of Indonesia under the Council of Palm Producing Countries (CPOPC).

Earlier this year, Fadillah and Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs (Komenko), Airlangga Hartarto, mutually agreed to protect the interests of the palm oil sector by strengthening efforts in dealing with the discrimination against palm oil.

Combined, Malaysia and Indonesia contribute more than 80 per cent to the global palm oil market.

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As part of the mission, they will be meeting Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell-Fontelle, as well as European Green Deal and Commissioner for Climate Action Policy, executive vice-president Frans Timmermans.

The ministers will also be meeting the vice-president of the European Parliament, Heidi Hautala, and the chair of International Trade, Bernd Lange. A working luncheon with industry leaders and chief executive officers is also scheduled.

Malaysia stands ready to assist the EU, he said.

"What we want is more engagement because the decision taken by them has an impact on Malaysia not only from an economic or trade perspective but also on the smallholders,” the deputy prime minister said.

Malaysia has about 700,000 smallholders in agricommodity, of which about 450,000 smallholders are in the palm oil sector.

Hence, engagement is vital and at the same time, Malaysia also wants the EU to recognise all the actions taken by the government over the years.

Malaysia has underscored the need for a balanced approach between achieving development goals and climate ambition. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) remain the utmost priority for Malaysia.

In fact, the UN's definition of sustainability is extremely clear, that social and economic sustainability is on an equal plane with environmental. In most definitions of sustainability, there are also concerns for social equity and economic development.

The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) is one of the many sustainability initiatives, he said. Fadilah added that among the millers, 96 per cent have achieved MSPO certification, while on the plantation side 98 per cent, including smallholders.

It is to be noted that there are two types of smallholders - one that is organised, such as the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra), and the other is mostly family-owned.

"We are also helping them (the family-owned) to make sure that they are certified,” he added.

Fadillah stressed that it is an undeniable fact that palm oil is the most resource-efficient vegetable oil.

Oil palm trees require considerably less land to produce the same yield compared to other oils.

"If you’re talking about deforestation, comparatively with soya bean or rape seed and so on, palm oil is still the most productive in terms of land usage,” he said.

Oil palm produces more oil per hectare than any other major vegetable oil crop at 3.3 metric tonnes per hectare. In comparison, soybeans produced just 0.4 metric tonnes per hectare.

Malaysia also has the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) and Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) practices, with a view to facilitating access to the EU single market. - BERNAMA