KAJANG, Jul 3 – The government will lay down a strong policy framework to further develop the oil palm industry and provide assistance, as well as a supporting environment, to ensure sustainable development alongside the industry’s competitiveness.
Newly-appointed Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok (pix) said the oil palm industry continued to face challenges, especially in the form of anti-palm oil campaigns, despite its impressive contribution to the country’s development.
“Consumers around the world need to know that criticism on the health aspects of palm oil is unfair and not substantiated with scientific facts,” she said in her opening speech at the 24th Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) Transfer of Technology Seminar and Exhibition here today.
Kok’s speech was read by Deputy Minister of Primary Industries, Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin. She pointed out that the world needed to know that Malaysia had always advocated sustainable development and management of the oil palm industry and conservation of forests and biodiversity.
“The anti-palm oil campaign strategy has now changed and the detractors of palm oil claim that it is harmful to the environment. We need to provide scientific facts and data to counter these negative allegations and reports regarding the oil palm industry, especially in terms of deforestation and land use change,” she added.
Kok noted that Malaysia’s oil palm industry was highly regulated and it was in the government’s interest to ensure the environment, rainforest and wildlife were protected and conserved.
Malaysia’s initiative to implement the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) and make the certification compliance mandatory by Dec 31, 2019, would raise the bar for the local palm oil industry not only in sustainability but also in quality standard, she said.
“I am, therefore, confident that through the concerted promotion of the MSPO, Malaysian palm oil will find a niche in the international oils and fats market. In this regard, I am pleased to announce that the MSPO certification scheme has been adopted as a tool for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games Sustainable Sourcing Code for Palm Oil.
“It will be the dawn of a new era in the branding of Malaysian palm oil as it stands tall against all odds and adversities,” she added. Kok pointed out that the Malaysian oil palm industry must keep itself relevant for many years to come. New technologies must therefore be incorporated into the entire value chain to make the industry more efficient and productive, generating growth and value addition.
Between 1995 and 2017, the MPOB made available 648 technologies and 174 services applicable to the oil palm industry. To-date, 198 MPOB technologies have been commercialised – a 30% of commercialisation rate compared with the national average of 3.0% to 5.0%. — Bernama