UniOleon Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Malaysia’s United Plantations Bhd and Belgium’s Oleon NV specialized in the production of functional food oleo-derivatives for the bakery, confectionary and dairy industry, confirmed its commitment to the sustainable development of the oil palm industry by contributing and officially starting the 2nd phase of a rainforest trees conservation program and reforestation.
The conservation program was officially inaugurated by HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium and YB Datuk Amar Douglas Ugga Embas, the Minister of Plantations Industries and Commodities of Malaysia, accompanied by the Belgian Economic Mission members’ Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium Mr. Didier Reynders and State Secretary of Foreign Trade of Belgium Mr. Pieter De Crem.
The oil palm accounts for about only 1% of global agricultural farmed land yet produces 33% of the world’s volume of oils and fats. Despite this, palm oil has received a negative image in the last couple of years in the European and other markets. Deforestation is linked by some NGO’s to the rise of the oil palm cultivation especially caused by short term thinking companies who have entered the scene. However, a sustainable agriculture in the tropical region can go together with environmental protection.
“United Plantations is a strong advocate of sustainable oil palm cultivation and believes that conservation means development as much as it does protection”, says Dato’ Carl Bek-Nielsen, Chief Executive Director of United Plantations, “United Plantations (UP) has today not only set aside about 11% of its total area as a permanent jungle reserves but has also, as one of the very first, committed itself towards setting up an endangered jungle tree seed garden: the Kingham-Cooper tree sanctuary.”
The Kingham-Cooper tree sanctuary already has more than 13,000 rare and endangered indigenous jungle tree species (all in about 250 different species). This has been done together with Mr. James Kingham under the driving force of Mr. Geoffrey Cooper, Group Manager UP Bhd.
This program will be intensified with the contribution of UniOleon in a 2nd phase where it is the purpose to collect the last rare and endangered species in order to "close the loop" and create a seed bank which preserves all these special trees for future generations. This will require another planting of 12,000 to 16,000 trees.
Mr. Moussa Naciri, CEO of Oleon confirms that “with the contribution UniOleon is making towards this conservation project, we want to give testament to our commitment to promote and deliver to the market high quality products that are sustainable in all its aspects.”