RSPO presents its vision to support the sustainable development of the Indian oil palm industry amid a critical time of global crises impacting agricultural supply lines.
Agra, 22 September 2022: During the Globoil India Conference held in Agra, India, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) presented its vision to support the development of sustainability in the Indian oil palm industry amidst a challenging time for the agriculture sector faced with a number of crises, including the climate emergency, disruption of agricultural supply lines and threat of food insecurity.
The Conference also examined India’s national strategy focused on atmanirbharta (self-reliance) and “vocal for local” initiatives as the Indian government launched the National Mission on Edible Oils (NMEO) in 2021.
In his keynote address at the conference, RSPO CEO Joseph D’Cruz said, “The climate crisis is no longer a remote prospect but a reality we are all experiencing today. Yet we also have an opportunity to demonstrate how well-placed sustainable palm oil is to fill supply gaps, alleviate poverty and mitigate climate change as well as negative environmental and social impacts. RSPO is keen to work with the Indian palm oil industry, Government, and other stakeholders to support India’s move towards self-reliance, through the sustainable development of the palm industry.”
Advancing India’s domestic palm oil production
India is the world’s second largest consumer of palm oil, with consumption soaring in the 2000s to reach an estimated annual average of 9 million tonnes. Palm oil now accounts for about 40% of India’s edible oil consumption. Currently, India is the world’s largest importer as it is entirely dependent on imports to meet this high demand. Palm oil imports grew from below 500,000 tonnes in 1994 to a peak of 10 million tonnes in 2018. In 2020, the import value of palm oil reached USD 5.12 billion.
To counter India’s reliance on other palm oil producing countries and to address the issue of non-employment among the vast Indian population, the Indian government launched the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) in 2021. This new palm oil directive aims to advance domestic oil palm cultivation, increase farm incomes, and promote atmanirbharta.
“Unlocking the potential for stronger partnerships from farmers to market to financing is essential if we are to create a smarter and more resilient sustainable palm oil supply chain,” said RSPO Deputy Director, Market Transformation (India & China), Ashwin Selvaraj.“India has made a promise to cut its emissions to net zero by 2070. We will need to ensure that this is a just transition that improves the livelihoods of our farming communities and makes us self-sufficient. This is an opportunity for India to lead the way; working together towards creating a sustainable palm oil industry from the very beginning will help mitigate the impacts of climate change,” he added.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. RSPO is a not-for-profit, international, membership organisation that unites stakeholders from the different sectors of the palm oil industry including oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks, and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs, and social or developmental NGOs.
This multi-stakeholder representation is mirrored in the governance structure of RSPO such that seats in the Board of Governors, Steering Committees and Working Groups are fairly allocated to each sector. In this way, RSPO lives out the philosophy of the “roundtable” by giving equal rights to each stakeholder group, facilitating traditionally adversarial stakeholders in working together to reach decisions by consensus, and achieving RSPO’s shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm.
The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with satellite offices in Jakarta, London, Zoetermeer, Beijing, Bogotá and New York.
For further information, kindly contact:
|Zeeneeshri Ramadass (Zee)
APAC Communications Manager
Executive, Market Transformation – India