The Edge Markets (10/10/2018) - KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 9): There is a need for the Government to restructure the country’s agricultural and commodities sectors as a way of realising the industry’s economic potential, said agro-commodity industry veteran MR Chandran.
He said this initiative, already being undertaken, was important as the country currently had too many bodies whereby 80 per cent of what they were doing was integrated.
“We need a restructuring of the whole industry players. We have far too many bodies, namely the MPOA (Malaysian Palm Oil Association), MPOB (Malaysian Palm Oil Board) , MPOC (Malaysian Palm Oil Council) and PORAM (Palm Oil Refiners Association of Malaysia).
“They are all mainly into the downstream sector, so why do we have to have all these various associations? If we had all under one umbrella, then we would have enough capital to make investments and create our very own ‘Unilever’,” he told Bernama after moderating a panel session at the “Malaysia: A New Dawn” investors' conference here today.
Chandran, who is also an advisor to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), said when he established MPOA, the association modelled its marketing and research and development activities on those of the American soya bean, Canadian canola oil, Australian wheat and New Zealand dairy industries.
He noted that the New Zealand dairy industry, for example, had grown into its own brand called “Fonterra” in an evolution from a farmers union to that of a cooperative.
“Here is where I think we need to have the political will to drive the initiative. We have the capability to do this as we have the commodities and are supplying them worldwide,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chandran also said that part of the plantation land in the country should be prioritised to create efficiency.
“One of the reasons our yields are low is a lot of the land areas are government-linked and government entity land. They do not belong to the private sector. The (individual) smallholders and family holding plots are very efficient (in terms of yield).
“The government land, which was established for a good purpose, has achieved that purpose but the second and third generations are not there. So what do you do with all that land? Are we creating enough value for that land or can it be improved by putting it in private hands without the reliance on subsidies and incentives?” he said.
Echoing this, FGV Holdings Bhd Chairman Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid told reporters on the sidelines that the plantation giant was open to the option.
“You must always be open. If you are too blinkered, you will never progress,” he added.
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