Tuesday, November 29

Sarawak plays host to sustainable palm oil conference


Dr Diana Chalil

KUCHING: Sarawak is hosting the Consortium Studies on Smallholder Palm Oil (CSSPO) 2018 conference which is an annual open forum for academics and stakeholders in the palm oil and agriculture industry to disseminate relevant researches and share and discuss alternative strategies in harmonising environmental, social and economic dimensions.

The three day conference which started yesterday with a welcoming dinner is a joint program of the CSSPO and the agriculture research for development (CIRAD).

Attending the conference will be academia and representatives from various universities across the Asia pacific and its official opening ceremony to be held today will be conducted by The Indonesia Acting Consul General in Sarawak, Muhammad Abdullah.

When asked what would be desired outcome from the conference, Dr Diana Chalil who is the coordinator of CSSPO 2018 said, “there has been long debates about the three aspects of sustainability – environmental, social and economic.

“Usually there is always the perception that environmental and economic aspects will be contradictive of each bother but in fact, there are not.

“This is because in the long-term you cannot sustain the economic benefits of an agriculture project or industry without considering the environmental aspects of it because ultimately, resources come from the environment,” she added. Diana is also chairman of CSSPO.

“So my hope for this conference is that it will help bring about some new innovative balanced solutions between all three aspects of sustainability and help bring us closer towards creating an inclusive and sustainable agriculture industry.”

The three day conference will have two main academic presentations today – a panel presentation and discussion on the oil palm industry and a parallel empirical study showcase which will feature 71 academic papers from Universities across the Asian pacific.

The panel presentation and discussion will feature four keynote speakers form four important countries in the palm oil industry, namely, Dr Bayu Krisnamurthi who is an advisory board member for ‘andgreen.fund’ from Indonesia; Professor Alian Rival who is the resident director for South East Asia Island Countries and the Focal Point of Oil Palm Research from France; Professor Dr Muhammad Ashfaq from the University of Agriculture in Pakistan, and Professor Datuk Dr Mad Nasir Shamsudin from UPM.

The conference program will end with a field trip to Bako National Park on July 11 for participants of the conference to learn more about our national park management strategies.

More information on the papers and presentations from the conference can be found on www.csspo.or.id.