Derom Bangun: The Palm Oil Warrior

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Derom Bangun. Photo by: Special

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – The Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), Tan Sri Datuk Jusuf Basiron, presented his findings comparing palm oil with other vegetable oils at the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) conference in London. During his presentation, he underscored that palm oil demonstrated higher productivity compared to soyoil, canola, and sunflower oil. Despite palm oil plantations covering just approximately 12 million hectares globally, its production surpassed that of soyoil, which is cultivated across more than 100 million hectares.

The productivity of palm oil exceeds that of other vegetable oils by a considerable margin, ranging from 4 to 7 times more efficient. This stark contrast is evident when comparing palm oil with sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, and soyoil. Though palm oil plantations were developing in 5% of total vegetable oil plantations in the world, palm oil contributed 28% from food oil supply in the globe. Besides, palm oil price is relatively more economic than the other oil and fat.

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But the mainstay of palm oil always raises controversy and attack from related parties. The increasing crude palm oil (CPO) exports from Indonesia as the biggest palm oil producer in the world escalate vegetable oil trade competition in the globe. The countries that produce other kinds of vegetable oils, such as, sunflower, canola, started attacking palm oil companies in Indonesia with many negative accusations.

Also Read: MPOC Optimistic for CPO Price in 2024 to be in the Range of RM4000 per Metric Tons

The accusations are health disorder risks by consuming palm oil from Indonesia as vegetable cooking oil material, the quality of CPO is not as standard as it in international level, and the impacts from mills to the warming in the globe through green-house gas emission.

To face the accusation, Derom Bangun who represented Indonesian Palm Oil Association (IPOA) actively delivered answers by providing scientific approach. He always did dialogue with many international level – environmental organizations, such as, Greenpeace to discuss the issues and get solution for every party.

Greenpeace is non-government organization that focuses on environmental campaigns in the globe. It did confrontative, creative, no harm actions to reveal and solve environmental issues.

In some meetings with Greenpeace, Bangun told his opinion that it is important to maintain the balance between environment conservation and economic needs. For instance, in open debate in Oxford, England, Bangun successfully won the debate with Chairman of Farmers Union, England, Dr. Jonatan Scurlock, versus Greenpeace and Bioguel Watch in “The Food versus Fuel Debate”.

But what Derom Bangun has done to fight for palm oil industrial needs in Indonesia, was not fully supported. There were tensions about what Greenpeace though to emphasize and make moratorium in forest cut while Bangun thought to get sustainable forest cultivation.

But many appreciated what Bangun struggling for to palm oil interests in Indonesia, such as, Soedjai Kartasasmita and Prof. DR. Bungaran Saragih, the former Minister of Agriculture Indonesia.

By having these, Derom Bangun keeps struggling for maintaining palm oil industries in Indonesia to remain sustainable in economy and environment while paying attention to the people’s needs and environmental conservation.

source: Buku Derom Bangun: Memoar “Duta Besar” Sawit Indonesia, 2010

By: Maruli Pardamean/Palm oil plantation practitioner and writer

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