06.10.2021 (www.thestar.com.my) - KUALA LUMPUR: There should be more allocation for the palm oil industry to further ramp up research and development (R&D) for the commodity and for the production of more downstream products, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).
The organisation’s science, environment and sustainability division director Ruslan Abdullah said Malaysia produces about 20 million tonnes of palm oil every year, which brings in about RM70bil in revenue for the country, but sadly the allocation for the industry has been very small.
“It is not even 1%. It does not bring justice to what we are doing. Let’s not talk about investing in other crops yet like durian or bamboo, for example. We can never get an industry as lucrative as palm oil.
“However, we are just dealing with the commodity right now when we should be looking into downstreaming, where the real money is,” he told Bernama.
Ruslan said when looking at Fortune 500 companies in the world, a lot of them are actually dependent on the commodity. For Malaysia to be able to do that, it will require more funding.
He also stressed that the country has the best R&D institute in the world when it comes to palm oil requirements.
Echoing him, Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) director-general Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir said the palm oil industry is one of the main contributors to the growth of the Malaysian economy.
The industry provides input to various high value-added downstream products and contributes to the country’s export earnings.
“However, as we are still facing labour shortage, we hope the government can address the issue and we hope there will be initiatives or programmes that assist the acceleration of mechanisation and automation in the oil palm sector to reduce the dependency of the plantation sector on labour and help to boost productivity,” he said.MPOB has over the years conducted R&D, including innovative ways to harvest and process oil palm fruits and enhancing mechanisation, precision agriculture and automation.The board has developed more than 40 types of machinery and mechanised equipment for the use of plantation operations including oil palm harvesting tools. It also looked into ways to improve yield performance.
“As for our sustainability effort on the industry, we expect the government to allocate a certain amount to fund the smallholders on getting the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification and other MSPO-related expenses such as certification fees, MSPO-related training and personal protective equipment,” he said.
On raising demand for palm oil, Ahmad Parveez said the government should also give an allocation to enhance the implementation of biodiesel programme for transportation and industrial sectors. — Bernama