Fri, 07 May 2010

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Malaysia, the world`s two largest palm oil producers, agreed at a meeting here on Thursday to deal with negative campaigns against the two countries` palm oil industry.

"The meeting was called to face negative issues impeding the development of the two countries` palm oil industry," Indonesian Agriculture Minister Suswono said following the fifth Indonesia-Malaysia joint committee meeting on bilateral cooperation here.

At the meeting, the two nations agreed to cooperate in developing palm oil, cocoa and pepper as well as in handling negative issues impeding the development of their farm products, he said.

Indonesia and Malaysia now supply 85 percent of the world`s CPO needs.

Should the two neighboring nations unite they could play a decisive role in setting global CPO prices, Suswono said.

But the negative campaigns accusing the two countries` palm oil industry of destroying forests had posed an obstacle to the development of the industry, he said.

"That`s why Indonesia and Malaysia must cooperate in facing the negative campaigns launched by European non-governmental organizations," he said.

The cooperation would allow the setting up of a task force to voice the two countries` common interests and convince the world that palm oil producers had adopted the best practices in developing palm oil industry, he said.

"The Indonesian government has adopted a firm policy in the development of palm oil plantations by banning the clearing of peat land with a depth of more than three meters for palm oil plantations," he said.

A number of NGOs including Greenpeace have claimed that some palm oil producers, including Golden Agri Resources and PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology, have been clearing peat land and conservation rain forests to expand plantations.

The companies have denied the claims.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the NGOs might not be well informed of the process of planting oil palm trees in the two countries so that they launched negative campaigns.(*)