The Primary Industries and Commodities Ministry is in need of more money in order to conduct in-depth research on the benefits of palm oil to counter a worldwide misperception and campaign against it, especially those in western nations.
Teresa Kok said today her ministry will be submitting a request to increase its allocation for research grants in next year’s Budget.
“We wish the government can consider giving more research grants related to palm oil, especially on the nutritional value of palm oil, like beta carotene and tocotrienol, which are the components found in vitamin E,” the minister told a press conference at the Meru Casuarina Hotel here.
“At the moment, we don’t have research grant for palm oil,” she added.
Kok also said the government should rope in researchers from universities abroad to conduct joint research on palm oil.
“The good thing about having joint research is that in the future, our product can enter their markets easily,” she said.
Kok also said that palm oil is currently Malaysia’s third-highest product in terms of export value.
“Therefore, we need to think about how to make the industry continue to be vibrant and how to change the negative perception of western countries towards palm oil.
“So enhancing research on the nutritional value and the downstream products of palm oil will strengthen the confidence of the world on palm oil,” she explained.
In the meantime, Kok said her ministry has asked the Tourism and Culture Ministry for help to educate Malaysian tour guides so they too can play a role in promoting palm oil to foreign visitors.
“Tourists listen to their guides, their recommendations, and thus we must educate them about the goodness of palm oil, so that the message is passed on,” she said.
Kok added that not many Malaysians are aware of the nutritional values of palm oil.
“We need to shed the image that palm oil is a low-quality oil. Thus, we have to keep on stressing on the nutrition value, and also the fact that it can help prevent certain diseases,” she added.