KUCHING, Nov 28: Sarawak has the largest oil palm area under Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification in the country.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said this was a good indication of its serious effort in developing and strengthening the position of the crop.
He said this after a meeting with Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok at his office here today. Both ministers had earlier agreed that the certification was of absolute importance for the country’s oil palm industry.
Citing statistics from Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Uggah said as of Oct 31 this year, out of the total planted area of 1.555 million ha, some 359,811 ha (or 23 per cent) had been MSPO certified.
In terms of mills, out of the total 80 mills in Sarawak, 30 of them are certified, he said.
Again citing MPOB, he said out of the total area of 227,277 ha under independent smallholders in the state, some 5,543.27 ha had been certified.
“For plantations, out of their total area of 1,246,448 ha from 112 estates, some 354,267 ha have obtained the certification,” he said.
Uggah, who is also the Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (MANRED), gave assurance that the state government would continue to give its fullest support to the federal government for the remainder or any new development areas to be so certified.
However, he hoped MPOB would consider increasing the number of accreditation officers for the purpose in the state, given its huge area.
He pointed out that the certification was important to allow the country to continue exporting its palm oil to European Union countries.
“All plantations and smallholders nationwide are expected to comply with the certification requirement by end of 2019,” he said.
He was glad to note that Sarawak’s largest government land development agency, Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) had obtained 100 per cent certification for all its estates statewide.
On another matter, Uggah hoped MPOB would continue with its efforts to stop the theft of FFB (fresh fruit bunch), which he described as a prominent issue in the industry.
He said there should be strict monitoring of all mills as had been done before to stop people from selling suspected stolen FFB that could threaten the industry.
On rubber, he suggested that the federal government help set up Sarawak Rubber City.
He said Sarawak had great potential for rubber, with Salcra targetting to develop 300,000 ha of native customary rights (NCR) land. It currently has 165,000 ha of matured rubber tree.
“We can consider opening up more plantations of between 5,000 to 10,000 hectares if needed,” he said.
Uggah said the state would then be in a good position to supply 100,000 tonnes of latex to Peninsula Malaysia for glove production.
He said the country was now importing some 300,000 tonnes from Thailand for the purpose.
“We hope, too, that the federal government would continue giving us the subsidies for rubber,” he said.
The secretary-general of the Ministry of Primary Industries, Datuk Zurinah Pawanteh, MANRED Permanent Secretary Datuk Ik Pahon Joyik, its deputy director Wilson Entebang and a political secretary to the Chief Minister, Dr Richard Rapu, were among those present. — DayakDaily