S’wak planters group wants MPOB to give smallholders flexibility in purchase of oil palm seedlings


Napolean R Ningkos

MIRI (June 21): Sarawak Dayak Oil Palm Planters Association (Doppa) has called upon Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) to allow independent smallholders to purchase oil palm seedlings from the commercial plantation nurseries close to their farms to slash transportation costs.

Doppa president Napolean R Ningkos said the implementation of the licensing enforcement on commercial nursery operators and big plantation companies has led to independent smallholders facing problems in buying oil palm seedlings due to transportation costs and other related logistics factors.

“Independent smallholders have to bear high transportation costs to buy oil palm seedlings from licensed nurseries due to the remote location of the nurseries and the unavailability of oil palm seedlings from the nearby nurseries,” he said in a press statement today.

Napolean said the association is taking a serious view of problems faced by independent smallholder farmers in Sarawak in the purchase of oil palm seedlings aged between 10 and 15 months for new planting or re-planting.

He said the proposed leeway to purchase oil palm seedlings from commercial plantation nurseries close to their farms will help slash their transportation costs and be able to guarantee the quality of oil palm seedlings purchased from legitimate sources and managed by parties licenced by MPOB.

“Commercial plantations that have nurseries are appropriate to be considered in helping to reduce transportation costs and to reduce the risk of smallholders planting seeds whose purity is not verified,” he added.

With smallholders now facing reduced earning with drop of fresh oil palm bunch (FFB) price in the range of between RM590 and RM630 per tonne, Napoleon said MPOB should seriously take into account the geographic location of independent smallholders throughout the state.

He said MPOB should also ensure that the oil palm seedlings cultivated by commercial nurseries and commercial plantations are pure and have gone through quality management via the Code Of Practice Nursery (COPN) certification process.

Meanwhile, the association also called for related enforcement agencies to monitor the illegal entry of oil palm seedlings from neighbouring Indonesia, following a high demand for oil palm seedlings in the Sarawak market, especially among independent smallholders who are replanting and developing new areas.

“Doppa also strongly doubts the purity of the seeds sold among independent smallholders in Sarawak whose purchase of oil palm seedlings can be made in a small quantity of 200-500 seeds per purchase, “ he said.