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Participation of ICC as an observer in the 31st Session of the Intergovernmental Group on Oil Seeds, Oils and Fats

The 31st Session of the Intergovernmental Group on Oilseeds, Oils, and Fats held virtually on 4-5 March 2021 on an exceptional basis, in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the associated public health concerns and constraints. The Government of the Republic of Indonesia hosted the session.

The session was attended by 66 FAO member countries and three observer organizations including International Coconut Community. ICC team represented by Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director; Assistant Director, and Market and Statistics Officer.

The Session was opened by Mr. Gustaf Daud Sirait of the Republic of Indonesia, Chairperson of the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP), who called for nominations for the Chairperson and two Vice-Chairpersons for the IGG on Oilseeds, Oils, and Fats.

The Group elected Her Excellency Ambassador Ina Hagniningtyas Krisnamurthi of the Republic of Indonesia as Chairperson and Messrs. Yaya Olaniran of Nigeria and Bommankanti Rajender of India as Vice-Chairpersons for the IGG on Oilseeds, Oils, and Fats.

Mr. Peter Theones and Mr. Holger Matthey, FAO Secretariat made presentations on Recent Market and Policy Developments and based on the presentations made by the Secretariat, the Meeting reviewed recent developments in the global oilseeds, oil and meals markets, including the short- and medium-term market outlook and relevant policy changes and industry initiatives. The Group reviewed recent production, utilization, international trade, stocks, price, and policy developments concerning the oilseeds, oils and meals, and examined the supply and demand prospects for 2020/21. Besides, the Group discussed the medium-term outlook for oilseeds and oilseed products, based on the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2020-2029.

The government of Indonesia presented the country’s proposal to develop a Voluntary Guideline on Sustainable Vegetable Oils in Support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A panel of experts organized by the Government of Indonesia discussed the role of vegetable oils in supporting the achievement of the SDGs and highlighted emerging trends, including price developments of vegetable oils, as well as specific challenges faced in, among others, the soybean, rapeseed, sunflower seed, coconut, olive, and palm oil sectors. The panel of experts represented from the University of Amman; Chair of ICC Technical Working Group; Olive Oil Expert from Jordan; Oilseeds Association of India. The experts underlined the need to strengthen the capacity of smallholder farmers to produce in a sustainable manner.

The members participated in the deliberations and shared their views. Delegates from ICC member countries including the Philippines informed the need to avoid misconception about coconut oil and to understand scientific evidence that about 63% of coconut oil contain medium-chain fatty acids that in fact, have some beneficial properties. There is no evidence that coconut oil is linked to heart disease. Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executed Director, ICC appreciated the action initiated by the group, the inclusion of coconut in the group and consideration of the useful benefits and nutrient importance of coconut oil and coconut in general for sustainable development.

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