Govt allocates RM753m for oil palm smallholders

The largest portion of funds is set for replanting and new crop planting schemes

By DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

The government has allocated a total of RM753.7 million for oil palm smallholders under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), according to the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC).

Deputy MPIC Minister Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur (picture) said the largest portion of funds worth RM540 million was allocated for replanting and new crop planting schemes.

“Under the 11MP, the government has allocated a sum of budget for the smallholders, assisting them through a few different schemes.

“Through the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), the government also implemented an integrated incentive scheme for livestock and plants.

“A total of RM19 million was allocated for the plant integration scheme, whereas RM28.5 million was for the livestock integration scheme,” Datu Nasrun said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He was responding to a query from Kanowit MP Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang who asked on the government’s yearly allocation to assist smallholders in the country.

Under the Entry Point Project 1 NKEA (National Key Economic Area) Sawit initiative, MPOB has also provided assistance to smallholders for planting and replanting palm oil, Datu Nasrun said.

“Assistance provided includes the preparation of areas and inputs such as seedlings, fertilisers and weeds.

“This initiative can help increase palm oil production by using high quality plant materials,” he added.

In addition, the minister said RM3.9 million was allocated under the maintenance assistance scheme to assist smallholders for their plantations and farms’ maintenance.

“Advisory and guidance services are also provided by MPOB development officers to foster good agricultural practices and sustainability among smallholders so that palm oil production can be increased,” he said.

According to Datu Nasrun, the schemes are open to interested private oil palm smallholders who seek to increase productivity to provide additional income through optimal use of land and natural resources, as well as generate agricultural entrepreneurs.

In addition, Datu Nasrun said the government allocated RM137 million as an incentive for oil palm smallholders to help them obtain Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification for free.

“In view of the mandatory implementation of the MSPO by end-2019, the incentive would ease their financial burden by providing for the certification auditing fees.

“A total of 758,923ha of oil palm plantations and 70 mills have obtained the certification as at February 2018,” he added.

The minister also highlighted that the government had set up a Sustainable Palm Oil Cooperative (KPSM) to consolidate smallholders oil palm plantations in order to carry out sales of fresh fruit bunches in groups to increase income for smallholders.

“As at Dec 31, 2017, a total of 43 KPSMs were established throughout Malaysia, namely 17 in Peninsular Malaysia, one in Sabah and 15 in Sarawak.

“A total of 65 KPSMs will be set up until 2020,” he added.