Published: Monday March 5, 2012 MYT 2:45:00 PM

Sustainable palm oil consumption to double this year

KUALA LUMPUR: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) foresees total global sustainable palm oil consumption to double this year from five per cent last year, given the increasing demand and awareness.

Secretary-General Darrel Webber said Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) global production would also increase in tandem with the expected consumption upscale.

With multinationals and world's largest palm oil buyers pledging to source for RSPO certified palm oil by 2015, the consumption trend has already begun, which is expected to mirror in the increased sustainable palm oil consumption foreseen this year, he said.

The production of CSPO, also known as green palm oil, has grown to 11 per cent from the five million tonnes of global crude palm oil output last year, he told BERNAMA in an interview.

Webber said Malaysia, among the global leaders in palm oil production, was leading the pack as top producers, contributing 48 per cent share, with Indonesia 40 per cent, followed by Papua New Guinea, South America and West Africa.

"2012 looks to be a better year for us. Certified products are gaining foothold, contributing to the increasing demand and we are positive to see this improving this year.

"We saw certified products coming in from Latin America. Thus, this year we anticipate more output from Latin America and Africa," he said.

Moreover, with RSPO moving into China and India following rising consumer awareness and with the sustainable palm oil group starting to gain more recognition in the United States, it foresees consumption pattern to augment this year, Webber said.

As at end-January, total CSPO volume stood at 5.5 million tonnes, with total production area at 1.1 million hectares, while total sales amounted to 175,058 tonnes, he said.

Asked whether Malaysia would continue to be the top CSPO producer this year, Webber said RSPO was upbeat that Malaysia's contribution would increase this year, given the increased participation from companies, including smallholders and continuous increase in awareness and government's support.

"But whether Malaysia will remain the top, we don't know because Indonesia is also coming into play," he said, adding that there are also Malaysians contributing to the Indonesian volume.

According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Association, the CSPO offtake has not matched the available supply, with only 52 per cent of CSPO taken up by the market last year.

Meanwhile, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok had said there was ample supply of certified sustainable palm oil currently, but the industry was facing an insufficient uptake.

On another note, the minister clarified that it was the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers' Association that withdrew from RSPO in October last year and not Indonesia, the largest palm oil producer.

"Indonesia didn't pull out, we are still getting applications from other Indonesian members. We also foresee that CSPO will grow," he added.

The 8th RSPO General Assembly will be held here on Thursday. - BERNAMA

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