The Covid-19 pandemic has become some sort of catalyst for the industry to rise, says MPIC minister
by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) targets between RM65 billion to RM70 billion in export income for palm oil this year, as a result of the increase in demand.
MPIC Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the Covid-19 pandemic has become some sort of catalyst for the industry to rise again, as the industry was given some leeway for operations during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
“There are also various countries that are looking out for our palm oil exports, namely the Middle East and Africa, and there has been a growth in demand seen within the region, such as from the Philippines, Vietnam and Bangladesh.
“Similarly, even India has been looking out to purchase our palm oil,” he said at the handing over of the ventilator machines and Covid-19 test kits yesterday in Selangor.
He added that the palm oil price has also been increasing since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we were around RM2,300, and since then (the price) has been increasing steadily up to the current RM2,700 and above.
“We are expecting the price to continue rising, whereas the average price for this year would be between RM2,500 and RM2,600,” he said.
As of Monday, the national palm oil futures rose 3%, tracking sharp gains in Dalian palm oil and rival soy oil, as prices were further supported by higher July exports.
Similarly, the Department of Statistics of Malaysia noted that the palm oil and palm oil product export earnings from January to April 2020 had already stood at RM21.3 billion against the RM20.8 billion recorded in the same period last year.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Council’s early data also show that for the January to June 2020 period, the country exported RM21.17 billion worth of palm oil versus the RM20.91 billion in the previous year corresponding period.
Yesterday, the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) via the MPIC handed over two units of ventilator machines of the Elisa model worth RM240,000 and 2,000 units of Covid-19 test kits, in which the contributions’ worth are totalled up to RM334,000.
Mohd Khairuddin said the ministry has used its allocation for Covid-19 to purchase 10 Elisa models of the ventilator machines and two units were provided for Hospital Selayang.
“One unit has been gifted to Hospital Kuala Lumpur and there will be plenty more hospitals that we intend to gift with the remaining machines.
“In addition, the ventilator machines can be considered for long-term usage,” he said.
Previously, the MPOA has established a Covid-19 Fund during the earlier days of the pandemic so that the farming and palm industry may support the government and the Health Ministry.