Washington D.C., May 27, 2010—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and the World Bank held consultations
with a wide range of stakeholders in San Jose, Costa Rica, on May 17-18,
2010, as part of a broad global consultative process to develop its Palm
Oil Strategy. Fifty four people participated in the consultations, representing
civil society organizations, private companies, financial institutions,
industry associations, smallholder producers, government, and research
Attendees were from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras,
Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru. Jointly these countries produce 95 percent
of Latin America’s palm oil, which represents 5 percent of global supply.
Palm oil production in Latin America has doubled to just over 2mm
tons over the last ten years, led by Colombia as the 5th largest world
“IFC and the World Bank are seeking input from a diverse group of stakeholders
around the world to inform the new global strategy that we are developing
to guide our future engagement in the palm oil sector,” said Vipul Prakash,
Senior Manager of IFC’s Global Agribusiness Department. “This consultative
process is providing us with essential input in identifying the key issues
affecting the palm oil sector and in defining a range of possible interventions
for the World Bank Group to be able to support economic and rural development
while protecting forest and biodiversity assets.”
The participants discussed the potential of the palm oil industry in Latin
America and the associated economic, social, and environmental implications.
Increasing yields and productivity were seen as key to the industry’s
future. The discussion focused on the need to support smallholder producers
through increased access to finance, technology transfer, and developing
transparent pricing mechanisms.
Participants indicated that there was considerable scope for growth given
the availability of degraded lands but that future expansion of the industry
should be carefully managed to avoid potential threats to tropical forests
and associated biodiversity loss. They also highlighted the need for improved
effluent treatment and other pollution control measures to reduce pesticide
run off and enhance watershed management.
Participants pointed out the differences between Latin America and other
regions in producing palm oil, and emphasized the need to homogenize certification
standards and to provide technical and financial assistance for companies
to achieve them over time. They saw a potential role for the World Bank
Group in partnering with other stakeholders to strengthen the sector’s
environmental and social sustainability.
The consultations are a part of a global outreach by the Word Bank Group
to seek input into developing its global strategy of future engagement
in the palm oil sector. Until this strategy is in place, the World Bank
Group is refraining from supporting new projects in the sector. Consultations
with multiple stakeholders have been held in Washington, D.C., and in Medan,
Pontianak, and Jakarta in Indonesia. Further consultations are being planned
in Accra, Ghana and Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For further information
about the World Bank Group multistakeholder palm oil strategy development
process, please visit: www.ifc.org/palmoilstrategy.
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding
and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated
institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), the International
Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
(MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
(ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight
poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world.
For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org,