JERANTUT: The government has allocated more than RM100 million to assist smallholders obtain the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification to increase the value of the commodity in the international market.
As such, Primary Industries Minister, Teresa Kok Suh Sim has called on oil palm smallholders to grab the opportunity to obtain the certification for free, while the application for this certification has been extended to Dec 31, this year.
"What is important is for them to register before the last day as processing the applications can take up to four months. For those who have registered, if the process is not completed by the year-end, they can still benefit from this certification scheme.
"To date, the number of those who have obtained the MSPO certification is still small, prompting us to travel across the country to explain the benefits of the certification as done in Pahang before going to Sabah.”
Kok said this at a news conference after attending the MSPO certification and dialogue session with Pahang oil palm growers at the Jerantut District Council banquet hall, here, today.
She said that until last June 30, only 42% or 2.45 million hectares of the 5.85 hectares of oil palm land in this country had obtained the MSPO certification, covering 2.1 million hectares of plantations and 386,000 hectares of smallholdings, with the highest in Kedah, Sarawak and Sabah.
During the same period, 244 palm oil mills and 124 out of the 162 sustainable palm oil clusters (SPOCs) in the country had received the certificate, involving 12,000 smallholders and 44,000 hectares of oil palm land.
"In Pahang, only 36% of land planted with oil palm have obtained the MSPO, which is still low and I will be meeting the Menteri Besar soon to get his support in raising the figure.
"Perhaps we may not be able to achieve the target of 100 per cent MSPO certification by the year-end, nevertheless we do hope to achieve a high percentage so that the international community could see the efforts made by the government and oil palm growers in this issue," she said.
Kok said the MSPO certification would enable the export of Malaysian palm to more European countries and Japan, besides to the existing markets like India and China, hence contributing to higher incomes for those involved in the industry.
"The MSPO certification ensures that growing of oil palm adhere to the environmental regulations and good agricultural practices that are internationally accepted.
“Sustainable production of palm oil is important for the commodity’s global trade as the developed countries give priority to its sustainable production," she added.