SIMUNJAN: Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)’s `Ops Sawit Kenyalang’ that was launched last July has achieved remarkable success with at least 800 new licences issued monthly to smallholders throughout the state.
MPOB Sarawak regional head Sulim Lumong said the monthly 800 new licencees represented an increase of 600 new licencees when compared to the figure before the launch of the special operation.
“For the month of April this year, we approved 1,414 applications. Up to date, we have 23,000 licenced smallholders with a total area of 140,188 hectares for the whole of Sarawak,” he said when met by reporters at a new palm oil plantation site at Kampung Sg Alit here yesterday.
Sulim pointed out that the big increment happened after the government implemented the ‘two tonnes per hectare’ policy.
“A lot of smallholders did not apply for the licence because they can tumpang (ask help for sale) here and there. When we implemented the policy, they cannot sell already. So they got no choice but to apply.”
He said farmers were not required to register when they first started out, but a smallholder licence must now be acquired before they could sell the fresh fruit bunch (FFB).
Smallholders refer to those with plantation sites spanning 100 acres (or 40.46 hectares) and below. Those planting above 100 acres are categorised as estate owners.
“That is why for Ops Sawit Kenyalang, we do not go into estates. And for smallholders, licences are given free.”
Earlier, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas admitted that some smallholders in the state were still without licences.
“But I cannot blame them. Maybe MPOB have not done enough explanations and so forth. After Ops Sawit Kenyalang, we will intensify the programme, going to the ground and shorten the application period.”
Uggah said the Board had been directed to approve applications within a week.
Following a directive of the state government to all palm oil mills and collection centres not to accept FFB from unlicensed smallholders, he said more smallholders were coming forward to apply for one.
“We are very strict now. All the mills and collection centres are required to submit a list of sellers of FFB so that we can monitor. That is one of the issues that had been raised by the chief minister and MPOB should resolve it.”