Malaysian Palm Oil Networking Seminar

by Suman Gupta

Wednesday 8th February 2017,Mumbai:The Honourable Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, Malaysian Plantation Industries & Commodities Minister delivered the keynote address at a networking seminar organised in conjunction with his first official visit to India, at ITC Maratha Hotel today. This event is aimed at providing an avenue for the India oils and fats industry members to interact with the Honourable Minister discuss opportunities and issue facing the industry with the objective of improving the palm oil trade between the two countries.

Speakers at the seminar are renowned local industry captains, and experts from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council and Malaysian Palm Oil Board. The seminar covered topics related to technical aspects of Palm Oil, regulatory issues, market challenges and the Indian economy in relation to the vegetable oil sector.

In his key note address, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong encouraged participants to use the event as a platform to synergise and strengthen existing partnerships that have been nurtured over the years, as well as to explore new potential areas for cooperation.

India and Malaysia have long historical and cultural ties, which have now developed into excellent diplomatic and trade relations. Economic and commercial relations are the mainstay of the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and India. Petroleum products, palm oil and its derivatives, and wood and wood products are among the Malaysian commodities exported to India.

India is currently the leading importer of Malaysian Palm Oil, ahead of China and EU. The country imported 2.8 million tons of palm oil valued at US$ 1.7 billion last year. “Even though the volume is only about 30% of the total palm oil imports by India, we always value India’s supports and would like the trade between the two countries to sustain and grow further”. He added.

Commenting on the bilateral trade between Malaysia and India, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said, “Over the years, the palm oil trade between Malaysia and India has been built on mutually beneficial grounds and we hope all parties further invigorate new trade and business opportunities in palm oil and its various palm derivatives.” Datuk Seri Mah believed that there are opportunities for the private sectors of the two countries to redefine the business approaches to form partnerships and strategic alliances in order to expand the edible oil and palm oil business.He noted the significant combinations of the Indian industrialists to the development of the Malaysian palm oil industry, particularly in the palm oil refining sector. “Companies such as Tata, Birla and Allana, Groups pioneered in establishing palm oil refineries in Malaysia way back in the 1970s and 1980s,” he added.

Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong also urged the private sectors of the two countries to explore new areas for further cooperation and rejuvenate business linkages, in order to ensure continuous progress of the bilateral trade between the two countries. There are available opportunities for companies to look into for the investments in downstream, higher value-added palm oil derivatives such as oleochemicals, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, specialty products and even consumer brands.

Malaysian Palm Oil Council
MPOC is a council under the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities. Its role is to promote the market expansion of Malaysian Palm Oil and its products by enhancing the image of palm oil and creating better acceptance of palm oil through awareness of various technological and economic advantages (techno-economic advantages) and environmental sustainability.

The Council has set up a network of ten offices all over the world mainly in China (Shanghai), India(Mumbai), Pakistan (Lahore),  Bangladesh (Dhaka), Middle East (Istanbul and Cairo), Europe (Brussels and Russia), Africa (Durban) and Americas (Washington DC) to support, promote and venture into new areas for the industry.

The plantation industry, particularly palm oil is one of the main pillars f the economy. The palm oil sector has contributed significantly towards providing a continuous inflow of export earnings through the export o raw commodity and value added products to the global market. In 2016, palm oil contributed USD 9 billion in export earnings and accounted 33% of world’s palm production and 39% of total palm oil exports.

The country today enjoys its economic prosperity and development through a strong foundation set up by the industry and contribution in terms of export earnings and employment. It has long put into place guidelines, research, industrial and environmental standards that provide a safe, high quality Trans free oil in a manner that supports the local economy, preserves the environmental resource base and is economically viable. Practices are constantly reviewed to ensure the best agricultural ad management practices evolve in line with new research findings ad international standards.