Fadillah: EU ‘listening’ to M’sia, coming to detail discussion on Deforestation Regulation issue

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Fadillah talks to a boy who acted in one of FGV Holdings Berhad promotional videos which were played during the consultation programme.

MIRI (June 17): The European Union (EU) is “listening” to Malaysia’s request and will be coming to Malaysia for further details following Malaysia’s recent trade mission to Brussels, Belgium, and London, said Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Fadillah Yusof.

“So far, they are listening to what we have discussed, and they will be coming to Malaysia to detail all the discussions.

“Hopefully, our MSPO (Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil) can be accepted and used in due diligence process. If they use this, small-time farmers can remain in the world oil palm supply chain.

“This is our fight at the federal level,” he said when officiating at the closing of a three-day FGV with Smallholder and Suppliers Consultation Programme organised by FGV Holdings Berhad at Pullman Hotel today.

Malaysia had requested to be involved in all discussion and policy implementation, as to ensure that oil palm smallholders are not neglected and their roles are not dropped out from the world supply chain.

Fadillah said the mission to the EU was to let them know that the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) was a discrimination and a trade barrier that will remove oil palm smallholders and suppliers from the supply chain.

In view of this, he reminded these small-time farmers to practice sustainable approaches in their farming, not only to fulfill global requirements, but also to ensure that their methods and product is compliant in terms of health, good agriculture practice and does not involve forced labour.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Plantation and Commodities advised the small-time farmers to consider integrated farming in view of the various challenges in the global economy.

“For smallholders, our challenges are diverse because the state of our world is uncertain. The price of oil palm relies on global demands. With the uncertain world economic situation, we must be prepared to face this uncertainty.

“According to a research by the International Economic Organisation, up to 2028, the growth rate is only up to three per cent. Thus, this means that Malaysia’s growth rate will only be between four to five per cent.

“This will affect our country’s exports, because the exporting countries will be experiencing poor economies.

“Even though in general, we say that the demand for palm oil is stable, its price, however, may be unstable at the same time. Gone are the days where the price can go up to RM8,000, that will be something unusual,” he said.

Following this, he said oil palm smallholders should not rely on just one type of crop and should consider integrated farming including poultry, to ensure consistent income.

Fadilah added that the federal government is also discussing ways to help smallholders and the industries involved, as another challenge being faced by the country is food security.

“We need to ensure food security, be it protein or plants. In the past, we had surplus chicken and eggs, but now we have to import all these.

“Perhaps, these small-time farmers can venture into poultry such as breeding chicken, goat or even produce eggs and plant other cash crops. This will definitely supplement their income,” he said.

Fadilah also urged the small-time farmers to discuss either setting up an association or cooperative, and his ministry is ready to help them on the matter.

“This is something long or medium term which we can do together. We can collaborate to improve our farmers income and ensure ongoing food security,” he added.

The main objective of the three-day consultation programme was to create awareness on FGV’s commitment in upholding sustainability and to get feedback from smallholders on their operation.

Also present at the ceremony were Deputy Minister of Health, Lukanisman Awang Sauni; Minister of Transport, Datuk Sri Lee Kim Shin; Deputy Minister of Tourism, Creative Industries and Performing Arts, Datuk Sebastian Ting; Miri MP Chiew Choon Man as well as FGV Holdings Berhad chairman Dato Shahrol Anuwar Sarman and group chief executive officer Dato Mohd Nazrul Izam Mansor.