Jakarta. Indonesia asserted its position on Wednesday (29/11) that it is unlikely to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals without palm oil, as the country seeks to counter an ongoing campaign against the commodity in Europe.
"The palm oil industry is key to Indonesia achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including poverty eradication and narrowing the development gap," said Mahendra Siregar, executive director of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC), as quoted in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mahendra spoke during a briefing attended by the diplomatic representatives of 15 European countries, including the European Union, Sweden and the Netherlands, in Jakarta.
Indonesia has criticized a resolution on palm oil and deforestation the European Parliament adopted in April, which the country said discriminates against palm oil manufacturers and disregards efforts to introduce sustainable practices in the industry.
Mahendra also cited the Amsterdam Declaration, which he said, if adopted, would be an example of discriminative policy, because it does not apply to other vegetable oils.
"There have been negative marketing campaigns by several companies, including one by KLM [Royal Dutch Airlines], which demanded that its suppliers not use any palm oil in their products," he said.
He also referred to ongoing antidumping policies and subsidies in Europe and said they are unreasonable, because they are not based on any clear evidence.
Palm oil producing countries are of the opinion that the product is the only sustainable vegetable oil, citing concern over massive land conversion and product affordability to meet nutritional needs if palm oil producers switched to different commodities.
"In that context, replanting programs and productivity-increasing measures are very strategic. By using the same land, palm oil production can continue to increase to meet growing demand and further contribute to increasing prosperity for farmers," Mahendra said.
Indonesia and Malaysia, as the world's top palm oil producers, have agreed to unite against efforts to discredit the commodity. The two countries combined account for about 85 percent of global palm oil output.