Government offers incentives to oil palm smallholders to diversify crops, grow their businesses

Oil palm plantation (file photo).

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KUCHING, June 10: Oil palm smallholders with plantations of not more than 6.5 hectares (ha) and plant pineapples are eligible for incentives of RM7,000 per ha, while those who grow bananas, watermelons, corn and papayas can receive RM3,000 per ha.

Application for this Oil Palm Integrated Farming Scheme (ITa) offered by the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) is now open, and forms can be obtained from any TUNAS MPOB offices nationwide.

Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin has called on eligible oil palm smallholders nationwide to apply for the incentives under the Ministry, namely the ITa and Agro Bank-MPOB Easy Financing Scheme to help them supplement their incomes and grow their businesses.

“This incentive aims to encourage farm owners to diversify their sources of income through cash crops and optimise the use of their land.

“This is in line with the government’s policy on expanding oil palm cultivation areas as this intermittent planting can also improve the health of the ecosystem and soil fertility, which would, in turn, increase the yield of oil palm production,” she said in a statement today.

As for the Agro Bank-MPOB Easy Financing Schemes, Zuraida explained that smallholders could apply for loans to purchase oil palm seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, and insecticides.

“They can apply for loans worth RM2,500 per ha up to RM16,250, with a repayment period of 24 months at a two per cent interest rate. The loan is to give smallholders a leg-up in their business,” she said.

These incentives and facilities, Zuraida added, are part of the Ministry’s continuous efforts to uplift the living standards of smallholders and balance the dynamics of flora and fauna to ensure environmental sustainability.

“The Ministry is committed to continuing to defend the plight of smallholders with operational modernisation offers to ensure the long-term sustainability of income sources.

“MPIC is confident that this incentive can also boost the production of food resources and stabilise food security in the country,” she said. — DayakDaily