TELUK INTAN: The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities is committed to explore new markets to further increase palm oil exports.
Its Minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, said he has been to Iran, Philippines and most recently to Vietnam.
“These new markets have the potentials to provide at least RM2 billion in revenue for one country. For Iran, for example, its imports of palm oil and palm oil products had grew two-fold,” he said.
Mah, who is also member of Parliament of Teluk Intan, said this after visiting the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah workshop here.
About 600 studuents from 38 schools attended the workshop.
On the shortage of workers in the palm oil industry, Mah said, he has asked the government to allow the entry of foreign workers in the plantation sector.
He said the talks on overcoming the matter had been carried out with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to find solutions to the problems faced by palm industry players.
“Currently, 328,000 workers are involved in the palm oil industry. Although the figure is big, it is still inadequate,” he said.
Mah said the intake of foreign workers would be a temporary measure to overcome the problem.
“This is because his ministry intends to go for mechanisation and automation in the country’s palm industry and cannot depend on them permanently,” he said.
Mah said Malaysia’s palm oil and palm oil product exports to June this year rose by 28.7 per cent to RM38.4 billion compared to RM29.9 billion in the same period last year.
For June this year, the export value recorded a robust rise of 15.8 per cent, or RM6.2 billion, compared to RM5.3 billion in the same period last year, he said.
“In terms of what we have achieved in the first six months, this year’s exports of palm oil and palm oil products are expected to touch over RM70 billion compared to RM67 billion in 2016, with Europe, India and China remaining the top three importing countries.
“When our exports increase, the 650,000 palm oil smallholders in the country now will increase and palm oil production is also expected to increase to 19.5 million tonnes this year compared to 17.6 million tonnes in 2016,” he said. — Bernama