RI`s palm oil badly needs certification for export purposes

Medan, North Sumatra (Antara News) - Indonesia`s palm oil badly needed certification for export following allegations from non-governmental organizations and many other quarters in Europe that the use of the product was not friendly to the environment, a businessman has said.

The huge increase in the use of palm oil as fuel for vehicles in Europe has sparked protests from various circles in the past several months, Chief Executive of the Indonesian Palm Oil Businessmen`s Association (Gapki) Derom Bangun said here.

Various circles in Europe, including experts, were worried about the increase in the use of palm oil as automotive fuel, as oil palm trees were normally burnt immediately after their fruits had been reaped, and this would damage the environment in which the oil palm trees were raised, including Indonesia.

They said Indonesian palm oil was taken from plantations or factories which were unfriendly to the environment. The operations of the palm oil plantations and factories were considered to have damaged the environment, caused pollution, destroyed forests and even caused the extinction of endangered species, like orangutans.

As the use of palm oil was considered to destructive to the environment, various quarters in Europe called for a halt in the use of palm, Derom said.

To eliminate the threat to the Indonesian palm oil market in Europe, the commodity and its derivatives for export need to be certified, he said.

Gapki was expected to discuss the certification of palm oil and its derivatives at a meeting on palm oil in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Nevember 12.

Before the discussion and implementation of certification, Gapki hoped the Indonesian government, the relevant association (Gapki) and palm oil exporters should deny the allegations in order to prevent a decline in the demand for the commodity.

"Experts must be involved in denying the allegations in Europe so that the denial is expected to be scientific as it is accompanied by the result of studies conducted by the experts," he said.

Europe is the main market of Indonesian palm oil and its derivatves. Most of the total of 9.99 million tons Indonesian palm oil exports in the January-October, 2006, period went to Europe. (*)
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