Borneo Post Online (18/09/2019) - KOTA SAMARAHAN: Independent oil palm smallholders in Sarawak are urged to grab the opportunity to obtain the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification for free until Dec 31 this year.
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said in Sarawak, only 22 out of the 32 sustainable palm oil clusters (SPOCs) had been certified under the MSPO.
She said the 22 SPOCs involved 4,146 independent smallholders and a total planted area of 25,92 hectares, while the total acreage planted by independent smallholders in Sarawak currently covers 238,400 hectares.
“From here, we see that only 11 per cent of the total planted areas managed by the independent smallholders in Sarawak have been certified under MSPO. For example today, there are over 200 independent smallholders coming, but only a few have obtained their MSPO certification. So the certification rate is still very low,” she told reporters after a dialogue with independent smallholders at the civic centre here, yesterday.
SPOC refers to a group of independent smallholders within a specific boundary who are committed to producing sustainable palm oil through the cooperative structure.
Kok said there were various reasons why the MSPO certification rate was still very low.
“I believe one of the reasons is that Malaysians in general are not used to or do not like the word ‘certification’.”
She said aside from that, many of the smallholders planted their trees on land that did not belong to them, on road reserves, or one land that was supposed to be used to plant rubber or paddy.
“So you have all sorts of issues which make them unable to be certified under MSPO. That is the difficulty that we face and you know that we have more than half a million smallholders and it is not easy to reach out to many of them,” she said.
Kok added that her ministry had to push really hard to make sure that every planter would be MSPO-certified by reaching out to independent smallholders throughout the country.
Earlier in the dialogue, Kok said the MSPO certification would enable the export of five-star Malaysian palm products to new markets, European countries, Japan and the United States, besides existing markets like India and China.
She said MSPO certification would ensure that the growing of oil palm would adhere to environmental regulations and good agriculture practices that are internationally accepted.
Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) director-general Dr Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir was also present at the session.
Read more at https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/09/18/kok-many-independent-smallholders-in-swak-still-not-mspo-certified/