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Government to lift palm oil productivity
calendar10-11-2023 | linkThe Star Online | Share This Post:

09/11/2023 (The Star Online), Kuala Lumpur - The federal government is seeking to foster greater cooperation between major players in the palm oil industry and smallholders with the aim of boosting overall productivity.


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the overwhelming performance of the oil palm sector is contributed by smallholders, who account for 28% of the total area for palm oil production.


He pointed out that palm oil is the most productive vegetable oil which yields at least four to five times more oil per hectare as compared to other vegetable oils.


Malaysia, the world’s second-largest palm oil producer after Indonesia, accounted for 31% of the 87.39 million tonnes of palm oil produced globally in 2022, representing 49% of the world’s palm oil exports.


Anwar highlighted that the country managed to achieve this with only about 5.67 million ha of planted area.


“This accounts for less than 2% of the total 312 million ha of total area for oilseed crops production globally,” Anwar said during his keynote address at International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition 2023 organised by Malaysian Palm Oil Board.


Globally, palm oil is the largest produced vegetable oil, accounting for 32% of the 246 million tonnes of global oils and fats in 2022.


Anwar said global production of palm oil is expected to reach 81.44 million tonnes in 2023, increasing by almost 3%, which is achieved by using only about 6% of the total land used by oil crops.


Meanwhile, Anwar has also urged the European Union (EU) to recognise and appreciate the efforts of palm oil producing countries in meeting the EU Deforestation-free Regulation (EUDR).


He said that governments of palm oil producing countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand have taken aggressive and responsible measures to comply with the regulation.


“The new Prime Minister of Thailand Srettha Thavisin has given me the assurance that Thailand would come on board to work together with Malaysia and Indonesia, and hopefully other countries, in presenting our case, particularly to the EU,” he added.


Anwar emphasised that the EU should focus on the ongoing initiatives implemented by the producing countries rather than fixating on the past.


“I think countries in Europe must show appreciation and reciprocate – not necessarily supporting financially but at least in giving that recognition – and therefore recognise the efforts by Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand in this regard,” he said


Anwar also highlighted ongoing collaboration between Malaysia and Indonesia in establishing the EUDR Ad-Hoc Joint Task Force to protect the livelihoods of agriculture commodity producers, especially smallholders, from potential adverse effects of the regulation.


He pointed out that the oil palm industry, one of the key drivers of the economy, provides employment to over three million people along its supply chain, including about half a million smallholders.


Additionally, Anwar also launched the Sawit Intelligent Management System (SIMS), a platform designed to streamline the management of transactional data throughout the commodity’s supply chain.


Anwar said SIMS is aimed to encourage self-regulation, decrease government oversight, and offer user-friendly features, enhanced security, and valuable decision-making insights within the palm oil industry.