Malaysia will increase its palm oil exports to Saudi Arabia from 300,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes worth approximately RM1 billion.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the volume was increased following Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's visit to Saudi Arabia recently.
“It is among the accomplishments following the Prime Minister's visit to Saudi Arabia other than the growth in demand for palm oil in that country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” he told a press conference in conjunction with the National Immunization Programme registration campaign for the plantation sector today.
He also revealed that the Ministry would open a regional office in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia soon.
“It is to further expand our opportunities for the commodity in the African and Middle Eastern markets and we see Jeddah as the best hub. With the establishment of such office, hopefully our palm oil could be further marketed internationally,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohd Khairuddin said his Ministry is negotiating with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Human Resources to secure foreign workers for the plantation sector which is in desperate need of manpower.
He noted that there are currently more than 250,000 foreign workers in the plantation sector with some having returned to their respective countries upon expiry of their permits.
He said his Ministry will propose measures for the plantation sector particularly in regard to standard operating procedures as a reassurance in recruiting about 32,000 more foreigners as harvesters.
“If we can get 32,000 of these harvesters, that will be another RM5 billion in palm oil-related income towards our RM75 billion target for this year.
“At the same time, we hope that locals would also venture into plantation which provides many benefits such as free housing,” he said.
Earlier, Mohd Khairuddin spent some time visiting the living quarters of FGV Holdings Berhad's workers and palm oil mill in Mempaga here.