Oil palm growers encouraged to diversify its income

Kok (in red top) in a group photo with smallholders holding the placards to promote MSPO.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Sept 17: Independent oil palm smallholders have been urged to diversify their plantations with cash crops or livestock so to generate more income on the land.

Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok advised small-scale farmers to not just concentrate on planting oil palm alone as it cannot generate much income.

“Moreover, 76 per cent of the country agricultural land have been used to plant oil palm. This is too much that there are not enough land for other agricultural plantations,” she told a press conference after a dialogue session with over 200 independent oil palm smallholders today.

She revealed that out of 32 Sustainable Palm Oil Cluster (SPOC) in Sarawak, 22 of them, involving 4,146 smallholders, or 25,692 hectares of oil palm plantations have been certified against the requirements of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Standards.

“11 per cent of the 238,400 hectares of small independent estates in Sarawak have also obtained the MSPO certificate,” she said.

“Of the total oil palm plantations in Sarawak, 58 per cent have obtained MSPO certificate. Our target is 100 per cent of the country oil palm plantations to be certified with MSPO,” she added.

On the reasons affecting the MSPO certification rate, Kok emphasised that Malaysians in general were not familiar with getting “certification”, apart from those cultivating on illegal land.

“Some planted on land meant for rubber plantation or other agricultural activities, while some have little knowledge about certification. There are all sort of issues affecting them from getting their estates MSPO certified,” she added.— DayakDaily