The Ministry of Primary Industries will work together with the Sarawak government to ensure that all oil palm smallholders in the state obtain Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification.
Its minister Teresa Kok said the certification was necessary to prove to the international market that oil palm from the country is planted using good agricultural practices.
She pointed out that besides fetching low prices, Malaysian palm oil is facing challenges from the European Union (EU).
“The government will implement MSPO certification as an initiative to help the oil palm smallholders in Sarawak, because we want to tell the world that Malaysian palm oil is from a sustainable planting source which adheres to good agricultural practices.
“And for that, the ministry is working very hard and working closely with Sarawak government to get more oil palm smallholders to have MSPO certification,” she told reporters here yesterday.
Earlier, Kok had a meeting to discuss the matter with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah at Wisma Bapa Malaysia.
She pointed out that more discussions and meetings would be held with the Sarawak government pertaining to MSPO certification for oil palm smallholders.
She also urged smallholders to have their plantation obtain the certification, adding that the government provides grants to assist them.
Kok further said that Malaysia will challenge the delegated act to be tabled in the European Parliament next month.
According to her, the whole idea of the act was to phase out palm oil from the European Union (EU) market, especially in the biodiesel sector, adding this would adversely affect the country.
She added that Sarawak, which has the largest area for oil palm, would also greatly suffer.
“So I am here to discuss with the Sarawak government on how to handle this issue as well as on some of the strategies…and for this we are working together because the state (Sarawak) has the biggest area for oil palm plantation,” she pointed out.
Kok said the meeting also discussed on the capping of oil palm plantations, adding that there would be a cabinet paper on the issue.
Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said the Sarawak government has declared two million hectares for oil palm plantation.
“We want to make it very clear here that the capping is on state land, and we are still allowing smallholders to plant oil palm because we are encouraging them to plant alternative crops as a means to get out of poverty,” he said.