By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, March 13: Minister of Primary Industry Teresa Kok said all oil palm smallholders must obtain Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification for their fresh fruit bunch (FFB) to be accepted by palm oil mills and refineries.
She said Malaysia needed to do this as the federal government was now petitioning the
European Union (EU) to continue buying Malaysian palm oil based on the argument that Malaysian palm oil is from a sustainable planting source and followed good agricultural practices.
EU is the second largest buyer of Malaysian palm oil.
However, there is an EU non-binding resolution that was passed in 2017 to ban the use of palm in biofuels by 2020 on the argument that the crop is environmentally destructive.
“So, we want to tell the world that Malaysian palm oil is from a sustainable planting source and that we planted it according to good agricultural practices.
“This MSPO, we are looking very hard into smallholders because once we certified the refinery and the palm oil mills and if smallholders don’t get their areas certified, then their palm oil (FBB) will not be accepted by palm oil mills and refineries,” she told a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia today.
She had earlier met Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
Kok thanked the Sarawak government for working with the ministry to try to get as many
Sarawakian smallholders as possible to obtain MSPO certification.
On her visit here, the Seputeh MP said she was here to discuss with Sarawak on how to handle
the issue of EU’s ban on Malaysian palm oil.
“You all know that palm oil price is now low, and we are facing a lot of challenges in EU — to
phase out palm oil in EU markets, especially in the biodiesel sector,” she said.
Kok said she came to discuss with Sarawak because the state had the biggest area under oil palm plantations.
“So we discussed some strategies, and we have a very fruitful meeting,” said Kok, adding that her ministry would come out with a paper on Malaysia’s position on palm oil and present it to EU to argue the case.
Present at the press conference was Uggah, who stressed that Sarawak maintained its stand in capping oil palm plantation at two million hectares on state land.
“The capping is on state land. We still allow smallholders to plant oil palm. Of course, we are encouraging them to plant alternative crops because to the smallholders, whatever land they have is a means to try to get out of poverty,” said Uggah.— DayakDaily