New Sarawak Tribune (13/03/2019) - KUCHING: Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok today urged oil palm smallholders in Sarawak to obtain the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification as soon as possible.
According to her, this requirement is one of the methods of assisting smallholders as without certification they would be unable to sell their harvests.
“If smallholders don’t get certified after we have certified the refineries and mills their produce will not be accepted,” she said during a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.
The government will pay the certification fees and grants for smallholders to get the certification are provided annually. They just need to adhere to all the rules and regulations.
“We will discuss this further and we will have more meetings on the MSPO certification,” she said.
When asked about her discussion with Abang Johari, Kok said their main discussion was on oil palm, the low palm oil prices, and challenges presented by the European Union (EU).
“A bill called Delegated Act will be tabled in the European Parliament next month,” she said.
“The whole idea is to phase out palm oil in the EU market especially in the biodiesel sector.
“I come here to discuss how to handle this issue. We are going to work together because Sarawak has the largest area for oil palm plantations.”
Kok reiterated that the country is facing challenges as the EU is its second largest market.
“We have sent a delegation of experts to argue about the methodology of the Delegated Act which will put palm oil as high indirect land use change (ILUC) contending that the palms cause deforestation.
“We are not happy that soya bean plantation is categorised under low ILUC. This is unfair. We hope that the EU can consider our country’s position as the second largest palm oil producing country.
“We want to tell the world that Malaysia’s palm oil is from sustainable plantations, planted according to good agricultural practices,” she said.
On the matter of capping the expansion of oil palm plantations in Sarawak, she said the state government had declared the cap at two million hectares, and that a cabinet paper will be made to address the matter as whole.
On his part, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the state government encourages smallholders to plant oil palm as well as alternative corps to get out of poverty.
Read more at https://www.newsarawaktribune.com.my/news/smallholders-urged-to-obtain-sustainable-palm-oil-certification/