by BERNAMA/ pic by BLOOMBERG
THE export value of palm oil and palm oil-based products is targeted to increase to RM75 billion this year from RM73.3 billion in 2020 due to high demand, as economies around the world gradually recover.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the implementation of the country’s economic recovery initiatives, including the recently-launched National Vaccination Programme, will further enhance the industry.
“We hope with the vaccination programme now underway, this industry will be stronger and more nimble to improve (export) performance.
“We also hope that the country’s recovering economy will drive the growth of palm oil prices and raise other commodity sectors,” he told reporters after attending the 2021 Special Address and ‘A Year of Malaysia Prihatin’ ceremony organised by the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities here Tuesday.
Mohd Khairuddin said in 2020, the country’s agricommodity sector recorded a positive trade value of RM191.7 billion, an increase of 14.1 per cent compared to RM168.1 billion in 2019.
Of the amount, total exports accounted for RM150.5 billion and total imports RM41.2 billion.
The successes recorded by this sector include an increase in palm oil exports (RM73.3 billion compared to RM63.73 billion in 2019), exports worth RM22 billion recorded by the timber industry, rubber RM48.5 billion, cocoa RM6.2 billion, kenaf and tobacco RM329.02 million, and pepper RM120.8 million.
“This is a blessing in disguise. With the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide today, the commodity sector, especially palm oil and rubber has recorded a very good development.
“The price of CPO (crude palm oil) has recently risen by more than RM4,000 per tonne, the highest in 25 years and enabled companies that suffered losses in the first quarter of 2020 to make huge profits in the second, third and fourth quarters, as well as could bear past losses,” he said.
This year, the ministry aims to increase timber export revenue to RM23 billion, as well as a 6.0 per cent increase in rubber export growth.
Mohd Khairudin said the ministry would step up efforts to add value to rubber by mobilising the East Coast Latex Corridor project in Terengganu to increase local latex production and focus on increasing the size of kenaf and pepper plantations.
“We aim to increase the size of kenaf plantations to provide a large supply to the industry at the downstream level while for the pepper industry, we have developed a crop integration with oil palm pilot project.
“It involves vacant areas in oil palm plantations and has been used for pepper cultivation. So far, this project has been successfully carried out involving 28 oil palm smallholders,” he said.