The Secretariat of Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) hosted the third round ofSmallholder Outreach Program(SOP)reaching out therepresentatives of smallholders in Africa.
More than 35 representatives of smallholder associationsand groups from Ghana, Nigeria, Madagascar, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, and Tanzania were in attendance of this virtual event as also their counterparts from Indonesia and Malaysia. CPOPC initiated the SOP to serve as a platform for smallholders in palm oil producing countriesin Asia Pacific, Latin and Central Amerika, dan Africa to join and establish a global communication network in promoting the palm oil industry catering the interests of smallholders, including in the context of achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
At his opening remarks, the Deputy Executive Director of CPOPC, Dupito D. Simamora conveyed that the CPOPC establishment is inseparable from the historical fact that the seedlings from Africa have made Indonesia and Malaysia now are the producers of 85% of the world’s palm oil production. “CPOPC is not only to represent Indonesia and Malaysia but it represents the spirit and the interests of all palm oil producing countries worldwide, including in Africa. We will help promote the capacity and welfare of the smallholders worldwide, including platform sharing, lessons learned, capacity, better price and pricing mechanisms and at the same time tackling negative campaigns against palm oil,” Simamora said.
Some representatives stated challenges on developing palm oil sector in Africa. According to the representative of Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAGH), Kwame Amo, “Not only access to finance, they also have issues on access to purchase the fertilizer. They often travel a long way only to purchase the fertilizers. We are looking forward to having support from the Council to develop our smallholders, as we controlled more than 60% of the production,”. Representing National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN), Ambassador Alphonsus Inyang conveyed another impact of financial challenge. “The production machine is also quite expensive, and the smallholder can’t access it due to the financial problems. Palm oil in Nigeria is a bias market and making the smallholders sell in a low price while the production cost is high,” said Ambassador Inyang.
Representative of the Côte d’Ivoire Interprofessionnel Association of the Palm Oil Industry (AIPH), Abdoulaye Bertehoped that the initiative will provide an opportunity of sharing experience in price fixing. “By fixing the price, we can also have better price on the fruit fresh bunch and help the smallholder’s income. We expect that the participants can share their experiences on the yield productivity through this initiative,” said Berte. The monthly meeting of all stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire can address many constraints faced by smallholders, including pricing mechanism. This good lesson learned can be emulated in other countries where the price is mainly dictated by the buyers or millers.
In his closing remarks, the Executive Director of CPOPC, Tan Sri Yusof Basironsaid that palm oil producing countries have been blessed to be able to cultivate palm oil. The crop’s productivity has provided better life not only to the producer’s nations and people but also the consumers. “The world is going to demand a lot of more palm oil in the future. It is the only vegetable oil that can fulfil the world’s demand growth,” said Tan Sri.
Last month, the first round of SOP was attended by 42 representatives of smallholders in Asia Pacific such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Papua New Guinea. The representatives of smallholders in Central America and Latin America participated in the second round of SOP held last week.The representatives of palm oil associations in Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico were in the attendance.