The Chairman, Plantation Owners Forum of Nigeria (POFON), Mr. Muyi Ladoja, has declared that Nigeria cannot export palm oil for the next ten years. He disclosed this at a forum in Lagos organised to discuss the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
The POFON chairman stressed the need to begin an interpretation process for the RSPO in order to put the nation in a better position to penetrate the lucrative palm oil export market
According to Ladoja, “The RSPO is an international not-for-profit association founded in April 2004, under the Swiss Law. It is a membership organisation, open to all major players along the supply chain. The organisation’s official seat is in Zurich, Switzerland. Currently, the Secretariat is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“The RSPO came as a timely intervention to negate the undue concerns on palm oil cultivation in sustainable way to meet the growing demand for vegetable oil and its derivatives, especially against the background of the growing concerns by environmentalists and consumers amongst other groups on the negative impact of the oil palm industry on the environment.”
Ladoja explained that POFON kicked off the sensitisation process of the global initiative called the RSPO. POFON is a body of private investors promoting and accelerating investments in plantation agriculture, especially oil palm in Nigeria.
“We at POFON recognise that to take the oil palm industry to the desired level, we have to confront head-on the overbearing challenge of lack of competitiveness in the industry as well as lack of standardisation, which comes from non uniformity of procedures and Policies,” the chairman said.
He said the country does not only need to produce enough quantity of palm oil to satisfy local demand, but must also produce palm oil of globally acceptable quality and quantity for export. “The contemporary international standards and best practices for oil palm, from planting down through the supply chain are embodied in the eight principles and thirty-nine criteria of RSPO.”
In a presentation by POFON, a copy of which THISDAY obtained, it listed the principles of sustainable palm oil production to include commitment to transparency; compliance with applicable laws and regulations; commitment to long-term economic and financial viability; use of appropriate best practices by growers and millers.
Others include environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity; responsible consideration of employees and of individuals and communities affected by growers and mills; responsible development of new plantings and commitment to continuous improvement in key areas of activity.
The RSPO is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil. Participants in its activities come from different backgrounds, including plantation companies, manufacturers and retailers of palm oil products, environmental NGOs and social NGOs and from many countries that produce or use palm oil.
“The first RSPO was held in Kuala Lumpur in August 2003, where a non-legally binding Statement of Intent was agreed. This laid out, amongst other things, the necessity for a credible definition of sustainable palm oil production that would be provided through the development of a set of criteria,” said Ladoja.