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Independent Smallholders Can Form Larger Clusters to Bolster Malaysia's Palm Oil Output: Johari Ghani

The Ministry of Plantations and Commodities intends to unite independent oil palm smallholders into larger clusters in a bid to bolster the country's palm oil production.

Its minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani outlined that the adoption of the oil palm smallholder cluster model is anticipated to augment the country's yield, projecting nearly nine million fresh fruit bunches (FFB) and 1.8 million tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO) per 10,000 hectares of oil palm plantations.

Explaining the concept further, Johari illustrated: "If each independent smallholder has four hectares, we gather them all into a cluster in one area, and (if) we can reach 10,000 hectares, then we can apply good plantation management practice so that the yield of each hectare can increase."

Johari was responding to Senator Tan Sri Mohamad Fatmi Che Salleh on the opening of new plantations to increase the country's oil palm yield, while wrapping up the debate on the Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address in the Dewan Negara, Bernama reported.

He also emphasised the ministry's focus on replanting programmes, particularly when trees reach 25 years of age, following a precedent set by the private sector.

Johari also noted that Malaysia does not have enough land to explore new plantation sites.

Highlighting the challenge of land scarcity, he underscored: "We only have 5.7 million hectares for palm oil. We are faced with a standard guideline that is imposed on countries that produce 'edible oil', which is that any palm oil intended for export must come from land that has been forested before 2020.

"If not, we will be considered a country that does not take into account the issue of deforestation and interferes with the export of palm oil abroad."

Johari has urged both industry stakeholders and smallholders to ramp up the production of FFB and CPO to ensure the continued prominence of the Malaysian palm industry.

He indicated that the government's strategy would prioritise enhancing yields rather than opening up new plantation areas.

Key factors essential to achieving these targets include adhering to the appropriate replanting schedule, typically at a rate of four to five per cent, ensuring an adequate workforce and implementing effective farm management practices.

Additionally, the ministry is advocating for the adoption of mechanisation in various tasks such as arranging fronds and FFB, collecting loose fruits, and transporting FFB to the roadside.


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