“Palm oil is still an important source and export commodity for Indonesia, as (the country) transitions its economy. I believe in a transformative approach and that is why we had signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) last year,” she told ANTARA in Jakarta, Monday evening, while speaking in reference to the MoU she had inked with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in 2019, amid the United Nations General Assembly.
The document signed was on joint production for sustainable palm oil and aimed at working with smallholder farmers to upgrade their knowledge and technological abilities, as well as to educate and enable them to produce sustainably.
While both countries await reports on progress on the cooperation, Kaag believed that when such program’s scope is broadened and scaled up, it could have a greater impact in addressing general environmental issues, including deforestation and CO2 emissions, often linked to palm oil production processes.
She then encouraged other parties, particularly the Indonesian government, to explore the scope and geographical scale of such programs.
“It could be quite interesting. It is not for us, but it is something that the European Union could maybe tackle alongside the Government of Indonesia,” she expounded.
Apart from environmental benefits, scaling up the sustainability scheme can also bring financial value, and to this end, she has invited investors to participate on a larger scale in the program.
“I would encourage friends at the Asian Development Bank, other larger investors to look at the value of the program to see if it can be accelerated and promoted in other areas,” she added.
Kaag reasserted that applying sustainable palm oil production by edifying smallholder farmers can be the best way forward into the future, as Indonesia transitions its economy.
Sustainability has been the general theme raised by the Dutch economic mission, led by high-ranking officials, including Kaag, during their visit on March 9-13, as the Netherlands pursues deeper cooperation in sustainable trade and businesses in Indonesia. The visit is held parallel to the State Visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima to the country. EDITED BY INE
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