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Palm oil industry to see gradual growth

Malaysian palm oil continues to enjoy encouraging demand in traditional markets, driven by several factors such as perchasing power of consumer countries.

However, growth this year is expected to be gradual as it would depend on the purchasing power of consuming countries, their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, population increase and new markets.

“Demand is factored by population growth and consumption is related to a country’s GDP.

“Should GDP increase, one of the first food commodities that they will spend money on is oil and fats,” said the Deputy Chief Executive Officer Malaysian Palm Oil Council Dr S Kalyana Sundram.

He cited the good example of India and China where their oil consumption followed their GDP growth.

“Per capita consumption will increase in tandem with the increase in GDP, as the purchasing power improves,” he told Bernama in Cebu during a Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s visit to the Philippines.

The council is collaborating with FGV and Intisari Mulia International Inc, a Filipino company, to create awareness and promote Malaysian palm oil among Filipinos.

“In 2014, we are looking for a more gradual increase. Our traditional buyers remain the same but there is growing demand especially from the Philippines and Africa.

“All this will add up slowly and surely, and help us to maintain Malaysia’s share of the global edible oil market,” added Sundram, who is also MPOC Director for Science and Environment.

He said global economic recovery would positively influence the momentum for palm oil consumption this year.

On the prospects for palm oil in the Philippines, he said the growing population of 97.704 million offered huge business potential in the future.

“The Philippines is a major producer and exporter of coconut oil and traditionally, the people are used to this edible oil in their culinary practices.

“However, the insufficient supply to feed the entire population prompts them to import a large quantity of other edible oils, including palm oil,” he said, adding that the Philippines imported more than 500,000 tonnes of palm oil annually.

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