RSPO recently attended the Palm and Lauric Oils Price Outlook Conference & Exhibition 2019 (POC 2019) in Kuala Lumpur. Gathering over 2,000 local and international industry players from more than 50 countries, this year’s theme – “Manage Uncertainties, Harvest Global Opportunities” – saw attendees discuss and share their analyses of recent developments in the oil palm sector.

POC 2019 panel sessions: certification, marketing and palm oil’s contribution to food security

Discussions during the first panel session were centred on the marketing of sustainable palm oil, during which Professor Pietro Paganini from Temple University of Philadelphia and John Cabot University told the audience that misleading labels are damaging the reputation of palm oil and driving away consumers. This was followed by updates from Datuk M Nagarajan from the Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC) on the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification standard.

Meanwhile, M. R. Chandran, Senior Independent Director of IJM Plantations Berhad and RSPO Advisor, moderated the second panel session; 'Palm Oil's Contribution to Food Security – Challenges and Opportunities’. Panel members included Dr. Petra Meekers, Global Head of Sustainable Sourcing at Unilever and RSPO board member, as well as Dato’ Carl Bek-Nielsen, Vice-Chair and Chief Executive Director (CED) of United Plantations Berhad and Co-Chair of RSPO. Dato’ Carl mentioned that recent studies found cattle farming to be the main contributor of deforestation globally, followed by soybean. “Palm oil was the fifth commodity [most] associated with forest destruction, a tenth of that accounted [for] by cattle farming,” he added.

RSPO at POC 2019

RSPO had a booth at this year’s POC, which, over the course of the three-day event was the platform for in-depth conversations with key palm oil stakeholders on the way forward for sustainable palm oil, and how different standards could work more closely to achieve the shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm, through a step-wise approach.

Government ministry proposes expansion of maximum area cap for palm oil plantations

The event was officiated on March 4 by the incumbent Malaysian Minister of Primary Industries, Teresa Kok. During her keynote address, she mentioned that her Ministry will be presenting a proposal to the Malaysian Cabinet to cap the maximum area for oil palm plantations at about 6.5 million hectares, up from the 5.85 million hectares as at end-2018.

The POC is organised by Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Berhad (BMD), with POC 2019 marking the 30th installment of the world's largest palm oil pricing conference.

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