Teresa Kok urges Sarawak to hasten MSPO Certification process

Kok greets Uggah during a visit to the latter's office.

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By Emellia Tamoh

KUCHING, July 4: Sarawak, being the second largest producer of palm oil in the country, needs to speed up the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Certification process for the palm oil industry.

Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok noted that only 38 per cent of oil palm cultivated areas in the state had obtained the MSPO Certification to date.

“That is equivalent to 591,233 hectares out of the total of 1.58 million hectares of oil palm cultivation areas in Sarawak. Our national aim is to achieve 100 per cent MSPO certification by the end of this year,” she said after a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas at his office here yesterday.

Kok (in light green suit) in a meeting with Uggah and senior officials from both ministries.

Following a fruitful and friendly meeting with Uggah, she said the Sarawak government had agreed to speed up the process.

Kok noted that one of the issues faced in the certification process was the land status condition.

“There are smallholding farmers planting oil palm on land meant for rubber or cocoa cultivation. So we need the Land and Survey Department to help us change the status, and Uggah has agreed to help on this,” she said.

Kok said her office had sent a list containing 7,000 names of individuals seeking the conversion.

MSPO Certification, she emphasised, was vital as it showed that Malaysia’s palm oil is produced from a sustainable planting source as well as using good agricultural practices.

“This will allow Malaysia to continue to export palm oil to the European Union (EU) countries,” she highlighted.

Besides the EU, which is the second largest buyer of Malaysia’s palm oil, Kok revealed that her ministry was now focussing on reaching out to Japan and China as its new markets.

“These two countries are very big markets and full of potential for Malaysia. I hope to visit Japan in two months’ time and am now in discussion with the Japanese Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur for my visit,” she said.

Kok (fifth from right), with Uggah on her right, in a group photo. Also seen is Ik Pahon (second from left) and Roland (fourth from left).

She also shared that a Malaysian company from Johor was now selling MSPO certified palm oil at a premium price to Japan.

“So, this is very encouraging news to us. As for China, we have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a firm, China Green Food, in May this year,” she said.

“This is a first step for China to recognise our MSPO certified palm oil. We have worked very hard for this certification, and if we can penetrate both Japan and China, this will be a great boost for us and our MSPO certified palm oil,” she added.

Assistant Minister of Native Land Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry Datu Ik Pahon Joyik were also present at the meeting. — DayakDaily