By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, Dec 5: The Sarawak government will contribute research funds to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) to aid the development of the oil palm industry.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the money would be for researchers and scientists to come up with strong evidence of the value of palm oil, especially on its nutrition and other benefits, to counter anti-palm oil campaigns.
Uggah, who is also the state Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister, however, did not disclose the amount to be contributed.
“The state is committed to assisting the federal government in strengthening the oil palm industry. It is our commitment to develop the industry and strengthen global market reach,” he told a press conference following a courtesy call by Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg here today.
The meeting, held at the Chief Minister’s Office in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex, also discussed collaboration between the state and federal governments on the timber industry.
On a related note, Kok said her ministry was committed to help the state push for Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification for all smallholders across the state by the end of 2019.
The certification would help Malaysian palm oil to be accepted in more countries. At present, India is the biggest importer of Malaysian palm oil, followed by the European Union and China in that order.
As at Oct 31 this year, about 359,810 hectares (ha) or 24.4 per cent of the total palm oil planted area in the state had received MSPO certification. Across the country, 1.26 million ha or 22 per cent of the total planted area of 5.8 million ha are MSPO-certified.
To this, Uggah said the state had agreed “to form a collaboration with MPOB to ensure all smallholders will get the certification by the end of 2019”.
With over 1.5 million ha of oil palm plantation across the state across the state currently, he said, “We will no longer expand oil palm plantations or issue provisional lease under state land.” — DayakDaily