The European Union’s (EU) new Farm-to-Fork Strategy (F2F) may negatively impact food producers throughout the world, including Malaysia’s sustainable palm oil industry. F2F is positioned as a sustainable strategy for the EU’s local food chain. MPOC CEO Datuk Dr. Kalyana Sundram went public with his concerns that F2F will have global implications. 

“The issue here is that we are sure this is not going to be just applicable to produce that is generated in the EU, but all produce entering the EU would be subject to this too, as they have become part of the EU food chain given how highly globalized the world has become,” he told FoodNavigator-Asia. 

“What is most worrying is that in this strategy, nothing has been made clear if existing sustainable palm oil certification standards such as those by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) or our local Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification will be accepted by the system,” said Datuk Sundram in the interview. 

“If these are accepted, then great, it is doable. What I suspect though is that they will end up saying there are flaws and inadequacies and want to set up their own certification system – this is something the EU has tried many times to approach from other angles and not managed to implement.” 

He continued, “As a producer country, I am definitely concerned over how much control and legislative oversight the EC is looking to have over agricultural producers that export to the EU, [as] we are also legislated by local legislations.” 

The overarching question, according to Datuk Sundram, is, “How much control can they actually put and impose on foreign producers? Do they want to be the ‘global police’ per se for agricultural standards in other countries too? Subscribing to the F2F concept would need all these questions answered.”

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