South China's Hainan province to take lead in piloting palm planting, industry officials say; move expected to supply about 8% of domestic edible oil consumption in the future

HAIKOU, China , June 10, 2013 () – South China's Hainan province will take the lead to pilot palm planting and the move is expected to supply about 8 percent of the domestic edible oil consumption in the future, according to experts at the First China Palm Industry Sustainable Development Forum held on Saturday.

Zhao Songlin, director of tropical oilseeds research center of the Chinese Academy of the Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS), said that the CATAS had already worked out the varieties of palm that were suitable for planting in China. Over the next two or three years, Hainan would develop a 200-333 ha palm production base and planned to increase the planting area to 333,333 ha in the long run.

China is the second largest palm oil importer and third biggest consumer in the world. However, it imports all of its palm oil consumption from overseas. Last year, its palm oil imports reached 6.5 million metric tons (tonnes), accounting for 22.7 percent of the country's total vegetable oil imports.

Malaysia and Indonesia are the world major palm oil exporters, but their expansion of palm planting area is at a sacrifice of destroying the tropical forests. "Such a problem is likely to hit the palm oil industry chain in the future and affect China's edible oil supply security," noted Sun Jirong, chief advisor of the social responsibility and sustainable development department of the World Wide Fund for Nature (China). (Edited by Liu Xiaoyun, liuxy08@xinhua.org)

(c) 2013 Xinhua News Agency

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