Kemendag To Set Up Team To Launch Palm Oil Positive Campaigns

JAKARTA – The trade ministry (Kemendag) has expressed its readiness to support the Indonesian palm oil industry. As part of the support will be its efforts to counter negative campaigns against palm oil at international stage.

Trade Minister (Mendag) Agus Suparmanto said that all palm oil stakeholders in Indonesia need to establish a stronger synergy in dealing with the negative campaigns against palm oil industry, especially by the European Union (EU).

He said that the negative campaigns against the palm oil will be more systematic and targeting all aspects. In the past, the attacks against the palm oil only revolved around issues of ecology and sociology. “Now, the attacks have been more personal on the aspect of health. The palm oil has been accused of causing a number of diseases. Despite of the absence of medical banning against palm oil, such negative campaigns have been intensifying for a long time,” he said in a written statement issued recently.

He made the statement during a virtual meeting with palm oil industrial players and representatives of related ministries. The meeting was convened to discuss about the challenges facing the Indonesian palm oil in the future and possible solutions.

Deputy Minister of Trade (Wamendag) Jerry Sambuaga said that the ministry of trade (Kemendag) will set up a special team to launch positive campaigns on palm oil, as part of its policies to support Indonesian palm oil industry which has been the target of negative campaigns at international stages.

He said that considering the current condition Indonesia needs a special team, which comprises of the government officials and business players, to deal with the negative campaigns against the Indonesian palm oil. “We’ve long known the real issue. What we need now is a concrete solution that can be effectively directed and implemented. Let’s set up a special team, through which we can talk about our plan and how to implement it,” he said.

According to him, Kemendag will initiate the establishment of the special team as the leading institution in pursuing all efforts of trade diplomacy to tackle trade conflicts that are related to palm oil.  He underlined the importance of mutually supportive relationship between diplomacy and positive campaigns on palm oil.

“Both diplomacy and positive campaigns support each other. The diplomacy cannot be pursued effectively as expected without strong and positive arguments about the palm oil. “We have to create strong arguments by involving related scientists and academicians and all of other stakeholders. Only by having strong arguments can we pursue our diplomacy effectively,” he said.

The business players have warmly welcomed the initiative of Kemendag. Wilmar International Group Commissioner MP Tumanggor said that business players are ready to support the government’s plan. He said the palm oil industry had been impacted by the EU discrimination against palm oil. “We need a joint action to counter the discrimination and negative campaigns,” he said.

All officials of the related ministries and institutions who attended the meeting agreed that the palm oil industry needs to improve its governance to deal with new challenges.

“We want to see the palm oil industry more friendly to environment and increase the public welfare. So, together with all stakeholders, including agriculture ministry and environment and forestry ministry, we’ll continually improve our governance. But the issues of palm oil industry are not only related to the ecology and sociology, as it is also concerned with the economic and political interests. So, all issues should be dealt with appropriately,” said Jerry. (*)

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