The Ministers responsible for the palm oil industry from Indonesia and Malaysia attended the Inaugural Ministerial Meeting of Palm Oil Producing Countries (IMMPOPC) of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) in Bali, Indonesia, on 2 November 2017.

The meeting was also participated by official representatives from other oil palm producing countries, including Colombia, Guatemala, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand, as well as multilateral organizations, namely Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as resource persons.

The meeting is regarded to be historic and the first of its kind, where major oil palm producing countries, led Indonesia and Malaysia, officially congregated to address the unprecedented challenges that the industry faces.

“We recognize the importance and benefits of a common platform to strengthen cooperation and collaboration among oil palm cultivating countries,” said Darmin Nasution, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Republic of Indonesia, Chairman of CPOPC. The meeting, he added, provided an avenue for open discussions and a window to exchange views in areas of mutual benefit.

The meeting discussed a number of issues relating to strengthening cooperation among the participating countries. These included trade policy issues affecting palm oil production, sustainability, enhancing productivity of smallholders, research and development, technical regulations and standard, as well as cooperation in the development of value added downstream industries.

The meeting also expressed concerns over issues relating to market access for palm oil in the global markets. Any measures aimed at restricting market access for palm oil do not reflect the commitment by the global community towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations as per Agenda 2030, particularly in terms of eradicating poverty and raising the income levels.

The Meeting agreed to explore the following:
1. collaborate in promoting the positive and objective perspectives on palm oil, including through fostering dialogue among stakeholders;
2. promote and support smallholders’ productivity and welfare;
3. organize joint seminars to explain the sustainability perspective of palm biofuels; and
4. establish working committees in areas of mutual interest, coordinated by CPOPC to strengthen collaboration.

The meeting welcomed the CPOPC initiative to invite other oil palm cultivating countries to become members. The meeting also agreed that other areas of cooperation will be discussed towards the possibility of making CPOPC as a major organization representing the interests of the oil palm cultivating countries.