Sunday, September 22

MPOB getting tough with rogue planters and middlemen — Uggah

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SRI AMAN: The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has received 300 complaints of theft from oil palm planters with 13 people caught, 24 planters given show-cause letters and eight vehicles confiscated.

Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas revealed that the cases were recorded in Miri and Sibu areas.

“For this, I am giving a warning to factories not to buy stolen oil palm fruits from any unknown parties and we have directed factories to have a record of fruit bought from genuine licensed planters,” he said at a press conference after officiating at the Transformation and Development Programme for small oil palm planters in Sarawak held at Hotel Sri Simanggang here yesterday.

“We also do not allow these planters to sell two tonnes at one time in a month and 24 tonnes a year. There is a system where the factory must refuse to buy fruits from planters when it has exceeded two tonnes,” he added.

Uggah also wants collection centres to submit reports to MPOB with a list of sellers including the tonnage and the centre’s total purchase figures.

“With this system of records, we can determine and synchronise the system. There are many ways at large to sell beyond the quota, since they could sell two tonnes to each centre, and there will be no way to determine this if there are no records,” he lamented.

Uggah explained that MPOB now has a central data base to track these records and avoid buying stolen fruits and stop flawed practices of selling fruits where small planters lose out in gains.

He urged collection centres to assist MPOB to fight these bad practices by rogue planters and middlemen.

On planters wanting to enter the ‘30 Tonnes Club’, Uggah wants them to harvest more quality fruits to earn more money. MPOB knows these schemes have elevated small-time planters’ income in other parts of Malaysia.

He urged planters to apply for a licence from MPOB as it is free and for them to legitimise sellers and records.

“Before granting a licence, MPOB will check if a plantation is genuine in practices and if it fulfills the requirements, the planter will be issued a licence within a week. That is the maximum period before issuing… and not six months,” he said.

He urged planters to get a licence and the government, through MPOB, grants subsidy of RM9,000 worth of fertiliser for one hectare of oil palm  planted while others eligible could get RM3,000 of fertiliser per ha.

He stressed that all these was timely assistance from the BN government to uplift the income of people in rural areas who earn less than RM4,000.