SANDAKAN: The Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, through the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC), is vigorously undertaking its ‘Jom MSPO’ programme to promote sustainability certification among smallholders.
MPOB chairman Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub said the programme was aimed at ensuring adoption of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) by the palm oil players and also enhancing their income.
“Sustainable palm oil production is crucial for Malaysia to expand its market, what with the country being the second largest producer and exporter of palm oil in the world. Malaysia exports palm oil to more than 160 countries, including Europe which gives priority to palm oil that is produced sustainably,” he said during the programme at Gum-Gum near here yesterday.
According to him, India and China are also beginning to place emphasis on sustainable palm oil.
“This development presents an opportunity for the country’s palm oil industry, especially since Malaysian palm oil is a quality product,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Jazlan said 216,249 of the 1.54 million hectares being cultivated with oil palm in Sabah belonged to independent smallholders.
Of the figure, he said 95,676.05 hectares involving 15,091 independent smallholders had already been Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certified.
“It includes areas certified under the 29 Sustainable Palm Oil Clusters (SPOC) established by MPOB for the participation of independent smallholders as a cluster,” he said.
To encourage the participation of smallholders in cooperative activities and sustainable palm oil production, Ahmad Jazlan said MPOB had also established the Sustainable Oil Palm Growers Cooperative.
He said smallholders in the cooperative could gain from lower transportation costs, higher market prices for fresh fruit bunches and dividends. — Bernama