Hence, I believe in a transformative approach for which we had signed the contract last year. I am optimistic of greater progress being achieved in this program
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Netherlands supports Indonesia to produce sustainable palm oil as was manifested in a memorandum of understanding inked by the Dutch Government to apply a program to enhance knowledge and technology of Indonesia’s palm farmers.

"That is the goal we want to achieve, specifically working with farmers to improve their knowledge and technology, teach them, and make them produce palm sustainably," Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag told Antara in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Kaag noted that the program can help Indonesia tackle the problems of deforestation and carbon emissions that might arise simultaneously as producing palm oil.

This undoubtedly should be built with awareness on sustainable development, taking into account the fact that palm oil is still a major export commodity for Indonesia, including while transitioning into a new economy.

"Hence, I believe in a transformative approach for which we had signed the contract last year. I am optimistic of greater progress being achieved in this program," Kaag remarked.

The scale of the program is viewed as being quite small to be able to cover all palm oil farmers in Indonesia.

To this end, Kaag has encouraged other parties, including the Government of Indonesia, to broaden the scope to conduct similar programs.

"That can be quite interesting. However, this could be what the European Union Government is on the lookout for," Kaag remarked.

The Netherlands imports some 25 percent palm oil, most of which is processed and then re-exported.

Kaag noted that the program offered a concept of how sustainable palm oil production can be implemented.

"I will encourage my friends at the Asian Development Bank and other big investors to ensure that this program is accelerated and implemented in other areas," she stated.

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto had earlier stated that the issue of discrimination against Indonesian palm oil should not mar the country's multilateral relations with member countries of the European Union.

"I have highlighted that discrimination against palm oil exists, especially for biofuel or biodiesel, where Indonesia's market for biofuel in the European Union reaches US$650 million, while the total value of our trade with Europe reaches US$31 billion," he revealed.

Hartarto has accompanied President Joko Widodo while receiving the visiting European Union-ASEAN Business Board delegates. They held talks on potential areas of cooperation between Indonesia and corporations from European countries.

Hartarto believed there is potential for trade figures between Indonesia and the European Union to increase. He was also optimistic of the palm oil dispute being settled well.

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Reporter: Sella P, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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