As part of the new economy, palm oil should be branded as healthy food products, and bio-based products. Ironically, most narratives, R&D in consumer products, drivers of markets and trends in palm oil consumption do not originate in producer and consumer countries of palm oil like India and Indonesia. There is a need to demystify the negative perception of palm oil by using scientific based positive branding.
These were some of the noteworthy outcomes of the business forum on “Sustainable Indonesian Palm Oil in India” held in the sidelines of Globoil Mumbai, 25 September 2019. About 50 participants from the business and government sector of India and Indonesia participated in the forum.
In his welcoming address, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to India, Sidharto Suryodipuro, emphasized that the Indonesian Palm Oil is here to best serve the Indian market. India and Indonesia are the largest consumers and producer of palm oil and it is in their interest that consumers can make an educated choice for their health and environment when it comes to edible oil.
Several prominent speakers attended the event. In his remarks, Mr Joko Supriono, Chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association underlined the connection between palm oil industry and the attainment of the SDGs. Mr. Atul Chaturvedi, President of the Solvent Extractors of India, remarked that the high productivity of palm oil had made it the target of other vegetable oil producers and NGOs. Indonesia should not look far, for there is a huge market for Indonesian palm oil in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and China. He emphasized the importance of making the port-based refineries as allies of Indonesian palm oil trade with India.
The Director for Agribusiness, Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Edi Sensudi, noted the large opportunities for Indonesian palm oil in India. However, Indonesia needs to take serious steps to overcome factors that have the potential to affect the performance of palm oil trade, including any negative perception towards palm oil, such as the environmental and health impact.