KUCHING: The federal government aims to get all oil palm areas in the country, including those belonging to smallholders, obtain the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification by end of next year.
According to Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok, her ministry has been given RM30 million to do the certification, especially for the smallholders.
She said although the amount might not be enough, they (oil palm plantation operators) must show that they had progressed in their effort to push for MSPO certification.
“After we have shown results, then we can apply for more funding from the Ministry of Finance,” she told a press conference after meeting members of Sarawak Dayak Oil Palm Planters Association (Doppa) here yesterday.
Kok noted that as at Oct 31 this year, 24.4 per cent of total oil palm areas – or 359,810 hectares of oil palm plantations – in Sarawak had obtained the MSPO certification.
She said nationwide, only about 22 per cent of the 5.8 million hectares of oil palm areas had obtained the certification – far off from the target.
“That is why, as we want to push for 100 per cent MSPO certification in Malaysia by end of 2019, we need the cooperation of all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the state government to work together with my ministry in order to achieve that.”
Kok said Doppa had agreed to work together with her ministry and agencies under her ministry like the Malaysian Oil Palm Board (MPOB) and Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC) for that cause.
She said her ministry needed the help of Doppa to go to the interior areas to reach out to the smallholders to explain the importance of getting MSPO certification, which Doppa had agreed to. She said her ministry would also work together the Sarawak’s Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development to push for MSPO certification throughout Sarawak.
According to Kok, the MSPO certification is the Malaysian government’s initiative.
“The idea of having the MSPO certification is we want to show to the world that our oil palm estates and oil palm growers have good agricultural practices, our palm oil has the feasibility in future, and we want to make our Malaysian palm oil first-class oil and five-star oil in the international market.
“So we hope to certify all our oil palm plantations and the whole value change in the oil palm industry, and brand the Malaysian palm oil with a better image,” she said.
Kok concurred that the MSPO certification might not be recognised by some European countries, but stressed that Malaysian oil palm planters must have the MSPO certification in order to make the country’s palm oil accepted in more countries in the world.
She believed that if Malaysia could reach 100 per cent MSPO certification, the government could start negotiating with the European Union (EU) countries and even with their governments – telling them that whatever accusations they had made against Malaysia’s palm oil, Malaysia had already done its best to fulfil the international requirements.
She said with the MSPO certification, there should be no more reason for the EU countries to boycott Malaysian palm oil.