EU Regulations Pushing Small Palm Oil Farmers Into Poverty: Minister

Small farmers deserve to be treated fairly and must be exempted from the European Union Deforestation-free Regulation’s (EUDR) unrealistic demands, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.

Fadillah, who is also the Plantation and Commodities Minister, said small farmers depend on the export of palm oil, rubber and other agricultural commodities to support their families.

“The deforestation regulation presents a significant stumbling block for them to access the European market, the ultimate outcome of which would be to increase poverty, reduce household incomes and harm our rural communities.

“These actions are unjust and stand in stark contrast to the EU’s commitments outlined in the United Nations sustainable development goals,” he said in a statement today, in support of the petition signed by local oil palm and rubber smallholders yesterday.

Yesterday, more than 500 smallholders in the country signed a petition as a joint stance to urge the EU to review the EUDR that is deemed discriminatory.

The petition, among others, sought the EU endorsement of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification and remove Malaysia from the list of countries at risk if the EUDR is implemented.

On that, Fadillah said the EU’s determination to designate Malaysia as ‘high risk’ under the deforestation regulation is unjustified and called on the union to recognise the MSPO certification as a path to compliance with the regulation.

“Malaysia is not high risk, our farmers are not high risk, and we cannot in good conscience be categorised as such.

“Malaysia’s deforestation rate is effectively zero and the MSPO certification scheme exemplifies our commitment to comprehensive sustainability standards,” he said, urging the EU to remedy the situation effectively and expeditiously.

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