Oil palm farmers reject EU proposal to ban palm oil biofuels

KUALA LUMPUR:Malaysia’s small oil palm farmers have combined forces to condemn Europe’s effort to ban biofuels made from palm oil.

The new campaign will release its first digital advertisement across Europe next week to highlight the European Union’s (EU) unjust and discriminatory campaign to ban palm oil biofuels under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

A ban on palm oil biofuels threatens to sentence 3.2 million Malaysians to a life of poverty.

Malaysia’s small farmers demand the European Council reject the proposals of the European Parliament, and reaffirm Europe’s commitment to SE Asia, Malaysia and small oil palm farmers.

“Oil palm has allowed the rural poor in Malaysia to develop their own land, lift them and their families out of poverty, and take control of their own economic density. An EU ban on palm oil biofuels is an all-out assault against thousands of small farmers across Malaysia,” said president of the National Association of SmallHolders (NASH) Dato Aliasak Ambia in a Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) press statement yesterday.

“The EU will force farmers into poverty if it bans palm oil. NASH and Malaysia’s small time farmers will not stand by while Europeans attempt to sell commercial products to Malaysians on one hand, while cutting off our economic lifelines. It is unacceptable behaviour: the palm oil ban must be stopped immediately,” added Aliasak.

MPOC disclosed in the statement that Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad also issued the statement that the proposed EU ban on palm oil biofuels under the Renewable Energy Directive is discriminatory and must be removed.

He said the 112,635 Felda small time farmers in Malaysia, and their families demand a clear and direct clarification from the EU that palm oil biofuels will not be banned.

“The Malaysian palm oil industry is an economic lifeline for small time farmers; it has lifted their families from poverty to prosperity. I will continue to defend the interest of our small farming community and ensure justice for them in the global markets.” said Shahrir.

Chairman of Sarawak Land Consolidation & Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said it is unacceptable that European politicians are preparing to put at risk the prosperity, safety and health of 3.2 million Malaysians.

“Tens of thousands of Salcra small farmers and their rural communities will suffer if the EU bans palm oil biofuels. We will not allow this to happen”.

President of Dayak Oil Palm Planters Association (Doppa) Dr Richard Mani said the indigenous people of Malaysia will suffer if the EU bans palm oil.

He added that indigenous communities have used palm oil to escape poverty, and build their hopes for the future.

“EU’s proposal puts all of that at risk and undermines UN sustainable development goals. On behalf of the Dayak planters of Malaysian Borneo, I urge the European Council to abandon this cruel and heartless plan that will only bring poverty to Malaysia.”

The statement further revealed that Faces of Palm Oil which is a joint project of NASH, Felda, Doppa, Salcra and MPOC had sought to advocate the matter on behalf of Malaysian small time farmers.

To learn more, visit FacesOfPalmOil.org, said MPOC.

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