JAKARTA — The European Union Parliament considers palm oil industry of creating some problems such as deforestation, degradation of wildlife habitat, corruption, child labor, and human rights violations. The resolution specifically mentions Indonesian palm oil industry as one of the parties who contributes to the problems. Responding to this, the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, said that the allegation of the European Union Parliament must be refuted by the palm oil producing countries, Indonesia and Malaysia.
“There is a permanent forum between Indonesia and Malaysia to discuss it, compose the countermeasure and diplomacy,” said Jusuf Kalla at the Vice Presidential Office, Jakarta, on Tuesday (18/4).
He affirmed that the goal of the diplomacy is to explain what is feared by the European Union Parliament is not true. According to him, Indonesia has had an experience in dealing with such a problem.
He explained that there was a study in 1990s which said that palm oil is high in cholesterol. The idea was later refuted through researches in several universities conducted by Indonesia and Malaysia, including a research in the United States. “It has been proven by the researches that it is not true. So, there is no problem anymore,” said Jusuf Kalla.
The European Union Parliament’s allegations against palm oil as it is considered as the competition of other vegetable oils produced in Europe, such as sunflower seed oil and soybean oil. The EU Parliament will begin to ban the use of CPO-based biodiesel by 2020. They will also enact a single certification for palm oil contained in the EU resolution, entitled Report on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforests, which was published to dispel the negative impacts of plantations, such as deforestation and habitat degradation.
Meanwhile, the member of Commission IV of the House of Representatives, Kasriyah, considered the resolution on palm oil as a trade war strategy. According to her, it was very irrelevant if the EU Parliament called the palm oil industry as the main cause of the environmental degradation and the deforestation problems in the worlds.
“Environmental damage has been occurring in various parts of the world and it is not only caused by palm oil. It is caused by plastic problems and other commodities such as soybean and corn, which bring more negative impact to the environment,” said Kasriyah in a press release received by Republika.
She also explained that the resolution ignores the problems that will intercept in trade, economy, and humanitarian sectors if the palm oil industry closes. The area of palm oil plantation reaches 11.6 million ha, where 41% of the crops are belonged to smallholders. The number of workers involved from upstream to downstream is not less than 16 million farmers and workers.
“Indonesia and Malaysia are the two largest palm oil producing countries in the world. Palm oil industry in Indonesia is a major industry which affects the livelihood of many people,” said Kasriyah.