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Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani




Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani





Effort to boost commodity sector bears fruit
09 April 2002 (Business Times) - THE Government’s relentless effort toboost the country’s commodity sector has been fruitful as smallholdershave benefited by earning better income.Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said theGovernment will not rest on its laurels as more unilateral measures willbe undertaken down the pipeline.“Prices of natural rubber (NR), palm oil and cocoa had all improved withinthe last few months,” Dr Lim told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.Dr Lim had earlier addressed staff of his ministry at its monthlygathering and distributed pledge of allegiance “Aku Janji” certificates tothem.“For example, NR prices such as SMR 20 have improved 50 per cent to RM2.71a kg last week from RM1.81 a kg in December last year,” he said.He added that cocoa prices have also improved, reaching a RM5,000 pertonne level, while palm oil prices are also attractive hovering between aRM1,100 and RM1,150 per tonne level.Prices of palm oil were severely battered for the most part of last year,hovering at a RM800 per tonne level due to weak demand and oversupply.“I am confident prices of the commodities can improve further,” he said.Other commodities under the care of the ministry also include timber,tobacco, tin and minerals.The world’s NR producers formed the International Tripartite RubberOrganisation (Itro) last December in Bali, Indonesia, aiming to boostprices.Itro, which groups Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia — the world’s topthree, respectively, plans to cut NR production by 4 per cent and curbexports by 10 per cent by year-end.Traders said under the plan, an estimated production cutback and exportcurb of 170,000 tonnes and 380,000 tonnes, respectively, can be seen to beremoved from the market.“In fact, the consortium is nearing completion and we are in the finalprocess to implement the US$225 million (US$1 = RM3.80) consortium tomanage, buy and stockpile NR,” said Dr Lim.Dr Lim added that Malaysia will continue to boost the sector and explorenew markets by embarking on various trade initiatives such as hold tradeseminars and promotions.Malaysia is the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, third biggestproducer of NR, tenth largest furniture maker, eight biggest cocoaproducer and, at one time, the biggest tin producer.