The growing economy, increasing per capita income, and evolving lifestyle indicate that edible oil consumption will significantly increase in the coming years in Bangladesh, and palm oil imports are also expected to grow multi-fold to meet the perpetually increasing demand in the country.
In 2021, the import of palm oil was nearly double the import of soybean oil. The main sources were Indonesia and Malaysia Palm oil and are currently the highest consumed edible oil in Bangladesh. At the same time, the country is one of the largest importers of palm oil globally.
The insights were presented by eminent industry experts– Tariq Ahmed, senior director, TK Group of Industries, Bangladesh; AKM Fakhrul Alam, former regional manager, Bangladesh and Nepal, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC); and Dr Sachnaz Desta Oktarina, researcher, Indonesian Oil Palm Research Institute, Socio Techno Economy Research Group, at a webinar titled "Palm Oil and Future Market Trends in Bangladesh".
The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) organised the webinar on 2 February to deliberate upon the current and ongoing trends in the import and consumption of palm oil in Bangladesh, read a press statement issued on 3 February.
Yash Kansal, deputy managing director (India), APCO Worldwide, moderated the webinar and Executive Director Tan Sri Datuk Dr Yusof Basiron and Deputy Executive Director Dupito D Simamora from CPOPC gave remarks and shared their perspectives at the event.
During his remarks, Tan Sri Datuk Dr Yusof Basiron emphasised Bangladesh's role as the largest importer of palm oil in the global economic scene.
While presenting an overview of the country's edible oil consumption trends and requirements, Tariq Ahmed said, "Despite the global pandemic, palm oil possesses the majority chunk of the edible oil market in Bangladesh. Palm oil is extensively used for cooking purposes across Bangladesh and consumers are aware of its health benefits. Even though there have been some challenges faced by palm oil during the pandemic times, however, the producing nations in Indonesia and Malaysia must look at harnessing the potential of the market."
Rapid urbanisation and growth in GDP are enabling the general public and various industries with better purchasing power to include better quality food, including sustainable palm as an integral part of their daily lives, AKM Fakhrul Alam said.
Dr Sachnaz Desta Oktarina said, "Enhancing palm oil production can be done through smallholders replanting programmes. It supports palm oil as the net removal of CO2 and contributes to attaining the Net Zero Emissions globally. This is another significant commitment of the palm oil industry to global sustainability. Various other measures like using environment-friendly fertilisers, performing certified agro practises, diversification of crops, and agroforestry are also ensuring that the sustainability aspect is further strengthened."