MSPO to be strengthened for EU’s requirements
Palm Oil

The EU-based certification will be made mandatory by the end of 2019 for all players

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Malaysia is in the process of strengthening the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) standards in order to meet the European Union (EU) requirements, following the bloc’s resolution to curb the imports of palm oil into the region.

 Dr Kalyana Sundram

Kalyana says the EU is in preliminary analysis of the resolution and as long as the country is strengthening the MSPO and show that it is viable, the issue is expected to be resolved to a certain extent (Pic by Muhd Amin Naharul)

Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) CEO Dr Kalyana Sundram said as the resolution would affect Malaysia’s export to the region, the organisation is working on strengthening the standards in the palm oil sector.

“MSPO was established primarily to fit Malaysia’s requirements, rules, regulations, production system and etc. We will comply with the requirements but those requirements should be reasonable,” MPOC Kalyana said in a briefing at the EU-Malaysia International Discourse on Palm Sustainability yesterday.

Kalyana said the EU is in preliminary analysis of the resolution and as long as the country is strengthening the MSPO and show that it is viable, the issue is expected to be resolved to a certain extent.

“They will still talk about it but we hope the EU will not require an EU-based certification because we are a producer country, and such certification must come from a producer country. We also have business- to-business Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certification better or known as RSPO.”

“Let all the certification improve themselves and pre-scribe to the EU requirements and see how it goes,” he said.

The certification will be made mandatory by the end of 2019 for all players, from the big plantation houses to the smallholders.

However, there is a cost for the certification in which may impede the ambitions, especially for the smallholders.

“The government is providing financial incentives to the smallholders to help in the certification process. For example, the MPOC is organising palm oil clusters, putting more Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s (MPOB) Tunas outreach officers in order to assist the small-holders and bring them into the certification system. It’s a long and very challenging process, and yes we are preparing ourselves,” Kalyana said.

A delegation of Malaysian lawmakers, led by the MPOB will be meeting with EU MPs next week to discuss several issues on draft report published by the EU.

“We saw a lot of points that we need to intervene upon and to provide a precise information based on facts and figures that we have,” Kalyana said.

He also said the EU will get feedback not only from Malaysia but other countries on the issue.

“I think what is happening is that a number of different studies are being commissioned post the EU’s resolution on April 4. What is important at this stage is that the EU Parliament is not the rule-making authority of the legislation. It’s a wishlist from the EU MPs which is now left in the hand of the EUs for them to look at fact-based issues, in order to convert some of the resolutions into legislation.”

Malaysia is the world’s second-largest producer of palm oil, and accounts for 29% of global palm oil production and 37% of world exports. The EU is the second-largest export destination for Malaysia’s palm oil after India.