31.01.2019 (The Star Online) - THE palm oil industry is an important contributor to Malaysia’s economy and development. It has boosted Malaysia’s economy by increasing income from exports and provided high-skilled and low-skilled jobs to more than 650,000 small farmers.
Palm oil accounts for more than 8% of the country’s exports and is worth approximately US$19.5bil. RM77.85bil of Malaysia’s annual export revenue is generated from palm oil and its products, and about 40% of all oil palm plantations in Malaysia are cultivated by small farmers.
The European Union is one of the main importers of Malaysian palm oil. Should the EU ban on palm oil be approved, Malaysia’s economy will be negatively affected.
Teresa Kok, Malaysia’s Primary Industries Minister, said that the EU’s stand on palm oil has the power to influence the opinion of other countries and her ministry is making every effort to encourage small farmers to be certified under MSPO (Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil) certification.
MSPO is a certification to recognise palm oil grown and harvested sustainably in Malaysia. Launched in 2013, it is an indicator of quality as it assesses all aspects of palm oil production with stringent criteria; from the plantation’s management commitment to the development of new plantings.
While ensuring that the local produce adheres to the standard of sustainability, Kok also mentioned that the industry is looking to explore new markets. In an interview with BFM radio station, Kok mentioned that countries such as India, Europe, Pakistan, Mozambique and South Africa have increased their import of palm oil from Malaysia. This shows the continued appeal of palm oil even with the negative EU sentiments.
Advocate, Planters United
Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/01/31/move-to-mitigate-eu-palm-oil-ban/#JVqEQFYOZ5ALoYPs.99