The Senior Officials Meeting Leaders responsible for the palm oil industry, the Deputy Minister for Food and Agribusiness Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia Dr. Musdhalifah Machmud, and the Secretary General Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) of Malaysia, Mr. Ravi Muthayah co-chaired the 20th Senior Officials Meeting of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) on 7 October 2020 in a virtual meeting. The government representatives of the palm oil producing countries in transition to full members of CPOPC were in the attendance namely the Vice Minister of Agriculture of Colombia, Mr Juan Gonzalo Botero, High Commissioner of the Republic of Ghana to Malaysia H.E. Akua Sekyiwa Ahenkora, and Vice Minister of Agricultural, Ministry of Agricultural and Livestock of Honduras, Mr. Ing. David Ernesto Wainwright. Members of delegations representing relevant government institutions and stakeholders of the five palm oil producing countries also attended the meeting.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Ravi Muthayah supported the initiative undertaken by CPOPC in forging a formidable co-operation and networking for the interest and betterment of the palm oil industry globally. He also expressed his hope that the three observer countries will become full CPOPC members in near future. The head of Indonesian delegation, Dr. Musdhalifah Machmud conveyed her optimism and positive note of the upward trends of palm oil price globally despite concerns on overall global supply chain of various commodities due to the pandemic.
In their remarks, the representatives of observer countries appreciated CPOPC for inviting countries in transition to full membership to attend the meeting. They underscored their readiness to work together in promoting the common interests of palm oil producing countries through CPOPC. Moreover, it was recognized that COVID-19 has some impacts in the palm oil production. Despite the pandemic, the producing countries continue to manage their national plans to support the palm oil industry, improve the capacity and livelihood of smallholders, and maintain the important value of the sector for national and global interests.
A number of issues were discussed, including initiatives and activities for smallholders, positive palm oil campaigns, research and studies, and sustainability issues. CPOPC is expected to provide leadership role to counter negative campaigns and communication fully supported by the member countries. Observer countries and other palm oil producing countries are invited to part of these common efforts in key consuming countries as well as regional and international fora, including the United Nations bodies. A global smallholder alliance should also be nurtured as a common platform to spearheading the overall interests of palm oil industry. It was well noted that the smallholders of the three observer countries participated and actively contribute to the three smallholders outreach programs separately for the three regions of Asia and the Pacific, Central and South America and Africa.
The Meeting decided to hold the 8th Ministerial Meeting (MM) of CPOPC in November back to back with the Indonesia Malaysia CEO Forum (IMCEOF). The IMCEOF would offer an opportunity for the prominent captains of the industry to deliberate on the way forward to bring the palm oil sector to a greater height, including addressing issues in relation to sustainability, trade and other future strategic priorities.