Surging palm oil prices benefit smallholders

Harvested oil palm fruits. — file pic

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KUCHING, Aug 24: The Primary Industries and Commodities Ministry disclosed that the increase of prices for crude palm oil (CPO) has contributed to an increase of income for smallholders in the country.

Its deputy minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng said the initiative and efforts that had been taken by the ministry to promote the palm oil industry had shown a positive impact for country’s palm oil exports, especially in 2019.

He said this was through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with various countries visited, namely China, India and the European Union (EU) countres.

“The data issued by the Department of Statistic Malaysia (DOSM), shows that the export quantity of palm oil and palm oil-based products has increased by 10.8 per cent, which is 27.98 million tons, compared to 25.23 million tons in 2018.

“The prices of fresh palm oil fruits have also increased, due to the increase in CPO price. As of June 2020, the daily price (of palm oil) issued by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) based on region and grade is between RM415 to RM508, compared to RM333 to RM347 in June 2019.

“The increase in prices has had an impact for the smallholders in the country, where their income is also increasing,” he said when replying to Batang Lupar MP Datuk Sri Rohani Abdul Karim who queried on the impact of the ministry’s promotion of the country’s palm oil industry at the Dewan Rakyat sitting, today.

At the same time, Rohani also forwarded a supplementary question to Wee, regarding the ministry’s strategy to compete with other cooking oil producers, specifically in terms of prices and quality.

According to Wee, the ministry is continuously holding promotional activities through MPOB to the targeted countries.

He said the ministry has also acquired new markets such as in Turkey, and hoped to make the country (Turkey) as the hub, including targeting an additional 300,000 tons of processed palm oil export.

“From Turkey, we may be able to enter other markets in the countries of Balkan region, with the cooperation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Malaysian Embassy Offices in Europe, involving G2G (government-to-government) relationship and the participation from MITI in the marketing aspect,” he added.

Wee noted, in terms of price and quality, Malaysia’s CPO is priced below that of the soybean and sunflower oil but higher priced compared to Indonesia’s CPO.

“For the quality, the ministry has launched a sustainable palm oil certification which is the mandatory Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification to address any issues involving the sustainability of the palm oil industry in the country.

“A scientific research is also being conducted collaboratively with an excellence centre in a few countries to prove the  benefit of palm oil,” he said. –DayakDaily.