by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ FILE PIX
MALAYSIA’s palm oil total export value is expected to surpass RM70 billion in 2020 as palm oil importing-countries are stocking up their inventories due to plunging demand.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry (MPIC) secretary-general Datuk Ravi Muthayah said the country’s export earnings is expected to reach RM52 billion for the year.
Muthayah said that palm oil has been Malaysia’s the single-largest commodity earner, contributing about 3.5% to 3.7% to Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of last year (3Q20) given the current hectarage of 6 million hectares.
“Palm oil and palm oil products are expected to contribute more than RM70 billion in 2020 with an export volume of 17.7 million tonnes.
“Although Malaysia is affected by the global lockdown due to the pandemic, the palm oil production was not significantly affected,” he said at the virtual Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar (POTS Digital) 2021 today.
In 2019, Malaysia’s export value for palm oil and palm products was recorded at RM67.5 billion.
Meanwhile, Malaysia is expected to record a slightly lower oil output this year at 19.5 million tonnes compared to 22 million tonnes in 2019, largely due to the seasonal weather pattern and shortage of labour at the plantations.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the palm oil industry should be protected due to its contribution to the economy.
“The industry has contributed so much in terms of export earnings, employment, research and development, innovation and especially the social-economic status of the smallholders and farmers.
“However, like many other countries, Malaysia was not spared from the effects of the global pandemic.
“Lockdowns were imposed across the country which made it clear that there was an urgent need to find new solutions as old solutions were no longer viable in the new environment and changes needed to be made,” he said.
Mohd Khairuddin said the government has implemented policies to tackle issues which may impact the development of the industry.
“In circumventing palm oil demand disruption, the government has provided incentives such as the suspension of export duty on crude palm oil since June 2020.
“We have seen positive results from this action which is reflected in our palm oil exports increasing significantly from June onwards,” he said.
He added that Malaysia has been promoting sustainable oil palm cultivation through enforcing the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification scheme and developing sustainable green technology compared to many other countries.