KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's palm oil production thisyear is expected to reach 13 million tonnes, said Primary IndustriesDeputy Minister Datuk Anifah Hj. Aman.
He said that production up till August this year had already amounted tonine million tonnes compared with a production of 11.9 million tonnes forthe whole of last year.
He said this in his speech at the official opening of the 23rd Palm OilFamiliarisation Programme here Monday.
While Malaysia is also the world's leading producer and exporter of palmoil -- contributing 47 percent of global production and about 58 percentof palm oil traded in the world market -- it would continue to seek waysto enhance its competitiveness in the palm oil market, he said.
Talking to reporters later, he said competition would continue to be therein the industry and that that was good as it would push for moreefficiency and better pricing for the commodity.
He said the competition would not only be with Indonesia, currently thesecond largest producer of palm oil, but with other oil producingcountries as well.
Measures to improve the local industry would include coming up with morecost effective production methods, better practices and also developingbetter clones aimed for better yields, he said.
Touching on the palm oil industry's impressive growth, Anifah Aman saidthat the various measures taken by the government including policiesformulated by the Ministry of Primary Industries with the Malaysian PalmOil Board (MPOB) and its predecessors such as the Palm Oil ResearchInstitute of Malaysia (PORIM) and Palm Oil Registration and LicencingAuthority (PORLA) and the private sector have all contributed to thegrowth.
On the rising demand for the oil, he said that among the factorscontributing to its increasing demand was its flexibility and use fordiverse applications in the food and non-food products as well as itsreliability as a source of raw material.
On production target for next year, he said it is likely to be the samewhile factors such as matured crop and weather would also be factored in.
Asked on whether the recent war had affected palm oil production, he saidthat there had been no significant effects to the industry.
"There has been no cancellations or drop in demand," he said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of MPOB, Tan Sri Hj Basir Ismail, said the palm oilfamiliarisation programme which has been carried out by MPOB since 1982,was aimed at providing participants a first-hand experience to see thedynamics of Malaysian palm oil industry and its related sectors andactivities.
This year's programme is being attended by a total of 42 participants from20 countries, out of which 26 of them have been sponsored by the EconomicPlanning Unit of the Prime Minister's Department under the MalaysianTechnical Cooperation Programme.