About 200 delegates converged recently in Accra for Africa’s Third Sustainable Palm Oil Conference, hosted by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Proforest, to discuss the urgent need for a long-term sustainable development plan for oil palm production in Africa.
Comprising high-profile dignitaries, growers, NGOs, financial institutions and consumer goods manufacturers, the meeting acknowledged that if African palm oil producing countries achieved their ambition to convert from net importers to net exporters, palm oil production would significantly increase.
RSPO’s Assurance Director, Salahudin Yaacob, called for a “long-term sustainable development plan” in the region, stating that “RSPO can only achieve its vision of transforming markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm through collaboration with all stakeholders, from growers to governments, and financial institutions to NGOs.”
Abraham Baffoe, Africa Regional Director for Proforest, said “a sustainable oil palm industry in Africa is something we are deeply committed to – and it is wonderful to have so much interest from companies and other stakeholders.
We look forward to seeing these connections deepen as a result of this conference, as we all work together towards an industry which contributes to the economic development of African countries, whilst preserving the crucially important biodiversity of the region.”
Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, Governor of Edo State, Nigeria in a remark, stated: “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Let me congratulate all of you here today, for demonstrating your commitment to a solution… It is in the interest of all of us in Africa to make sustainable palm oil the norm.”
Robert Fagans, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Liberia, stated that, “working with smallholders to improve their yields through sustainable farming methods is critical for palm oil growth in Liberia.”