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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Malaysian council boosts drive to promote palm oil

8/8/2001(Business Times) - MALAYSIA's palm oil exports to Vietnam morethan doubled in the first half of the year, while those to Bangladesh grew63 per cent, said the Malaysian Palm Oil Promotion Council (MPOPC).Council chief executive Datuk Haron Siraj said Vietnam imported 122,459tonnes between January and June, a 107 per cent increase on the 58,931tonnes it imported in the same period last year.Bangladesh imported 97,742 tonnes of palm oil, 63 per cent more thanpreviously, Haron said."The marked increase was partly due to MPOPC's efforts for the pastseveral years to promote palm oil. We will continue to do so in otherparts of the world," said Haron.Growing awareness of palm oil's numerous qualities and health benefits wasone reason for the two countries to increase their imports of the edibleoil, he said.Increasing private sector participation also boosted interest in palm oilin Bangladesh and Vietnam, where import activities had been previouslyundertaken by government agencies, Haron said yesterday.MPOPC began a five-day Palm Oil Trade Awareness Programme (Potapa)yesterday for delegates from 13 countries in Eastern Europe, Africa andCentral Asia.Haron said MPOPC will continue to spearhead marketing and promotionactivities in new and existing markets."We have already identified several countries which have enormouspotential for Malaysia's palm oil to grow," Haron said.He said Russia, for example, imported 2.043 million tonnes of edible oilslast year, out of which 120,000 tonnes were of Malaysian palm oil."Russia is a country of great promise to Malaysia's palm oil and I thinkwe can do something to increase our market share there," he said.He added the same promise holds for countries such as Hungary, Poland, theCzech Republic and Romania due to the growth of its margarine sector."The same potential can also be found in countries from the West Asia suchas the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia,Morocco, Jordan and others.These countries have annual imports of some 100,000 tonnes of palm oilfrom Malaysia for the past several years.Haron, however, said due to financial constraints MPOPC would look at thepossibility of establishing regional marketing centres or staging pointsto carry out marketing activities rather than on a country to countrybasis."For example, we will establish UAE as our staging point for the rest ofthe West Asia region and Iran for the rest of Central Asia," he said.He added MPOPC would also look at Africa to expand palm oil markets."Nigeria, for example, has a population of 120 million people and most ofthe palm oil products found in East Africa are from Malaysia," he said.Haron said Malaysia's palm oil already has a presence in almost 120countries worldwide which is two thirds of the 148 countries under theUnited Nations banner."It is all a matter of time before the world start to discover Malaysia'spalm oil because some countries are new to the commodity and some areaware but tied to some financial problems."Malaysia will now look at all options available to market palm oil. Wecannot sit idly by and wait for orders," he said."In the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) region itself,there is a market of 500 million people and we will go all out to promotethe commodity."No doubt, Indonesia will be a major competitor but competition is healthyand will spur Malaysians to work harder," he concluded.Malaysia is the world's largest producer of palm oil. It produced 10.8million tonnes last year out of which some 9.08 million tonnes wereexported generating sales worth some US$4 billion (US$1 = RM3.80).Indonesia is the world's second largest producer of palm oil producingsome 6.9 million tonnes last year out of which 4.2 million tonnes wereexported. MPOPC was formed in 1990 to develop and undertake promotionalprogrammes and marketing activities of Malaysia's palm oil sector.It groups together ministries, agencies and also associations from theprivate sector.

Malaysian Palm Oil Board ( MPOB ) Lot 6, SS6, Jalan Perbandaran, 47301 Kelana Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.
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