PUTRAJAYA, Jan 28 — The federal government will be chairing the sixth ministerial meeting of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) in Jakarta, Indonesia, scheduled on February 28.

Primary Industries minister Teresa Kok said the meeting will discuss trade policy issues affecting palm oil producing countries, sustainable production of palm oil, as well as activities to strengthen cooperation within the palm oil industry.

She said the meeting will also discuss the development of smallholders in member countries, namely Malaysia, Indonesia, and Columbia, which had recently joined the council.

“Through the efforts of CPOPC, we have successfully managed defer the elevation of Asean-European Union (EU) dialogue strategic partnership, which was originally scheduled on 21st January.

“We are committed to the sustainable development goal (SDG), as well as the environment, social, and economic aspect of the goal,” she told a press conference here today.

Kok said that she would ensure the CPOPC plays a significant role as the platform for palm oil producing countries to strengthen its collaboration while countering any discriminatory action against the palm oil industry.

Also present at the press conference was CPOPC adviser to the ministry Tan Sri Yusof Basiron — former chief executive officer of Malaysian Palm Oil Council — who said the council could play a role in safeguarding the industry for palm oil producing countries, especially the smallholders, as well as open up market access in the international arena.

“Both Indonesia and Malaysia are exporting countries. We need market access and protect interest of small farmers, who form up to 40 per cent of palm oil production.

“They have to be safeguarded in terms of price to make sure they are numeratively rewarded for their effort in producing palm oil and exporting palm oil to help feed the world, so to speak,” he said.

CPOPC was formed on 21 November 2015 by Indonesia and Malaysia, and will be joined by Columbia this year.