Malaysian Farmers File EU Petition On Deforestation Law

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KUALA LUMPUR: Palm oil farmers in Malaysia submit a petition to the European Union on Wednesday to express their opposition to a new law that forbids the import of goods linked to deforestation risks.

The EU reach in December an agreement on a deforestation law that requires businesses to provide “verifiable” evidence that their products were not grown on deforest land after 2020 and produce a due diligence statement detailing when and where they were produce.

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A collective statement from six smallholder associations state, “The regulation’s unilateral and unrealistic demands on traceability and geolocation will prevent small farmers from accessing the European market.”

They sent the petition to the EU delegation in Kuala Lumpur and asked its leaders to look at the deforestation law and “recognize the harm” it would do to farmers.

In Malaysia, the world’s second-largest palm oil producer, small holders control 26%, or approximately 1.5 million hectares, of the oil palm planted area.

Over seven million smallholder farmers around the world rely on palm oil as a means of escape from poverty.

According to the groups, the EU rule burdens smallholders and threatens their livelihoods.

They states that they were concern about the possibility of the regulation labeling Malaysia as a country with a high risk of deforestation.

They stated, “Given Malaysia and its small farmers’ record on forest protection and sustainable production, as well as the mandatory adoption of Malaysian Sustainable

Palm Oil standards throughout the palm oil supply chain, such a designation would be highly demeaning to the Malaysian government and unjustified.”

The European Union delegation in Malaysia did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Palm oil close at a close to one-month low as a result of economic concerns.

The largest palm oil exporters in the world, Malaysia and Indonesia, have accused the EU of restricting their access to the market.