by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
THE Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) is looking at setting up a Malaysian Agricommodity Regional Office in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to capitalise on the market potential for the nation’s agricultural commodities in the Middle East and Africa.
Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali (picture) said the regional office, which would act as a Malaysian Commodity Hub, will house the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, the Malaysian Rubber Council and the Malaysian Timber Council.
He said the opening of this office is part of MPIC’s effort to realise its target in making sure Malaysian commodity products, including oleochemical products and biofuel, would dominate the market in the region in the future.
“International relations through initiative like this is important for further improvement and acceptance of Malaysian palm oil products in the global market.
“It is also in line with the ‘Palm Oil is God’s Gift’ campaign launched on Feb 10, 2021, aimed at promoting advantages and the benefits of Malaysian palm oil to the world via educational elements, and at the same time, repelling anti-palm oil campaign,” he said in a statement yesterday.
The regional office initiative follows Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s recent meeting with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammed Salman, who is also Saudi Arabia’s deputy PM and minister of defence.
MPIC congratulated the PM for the successful negotiations between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia on various matters, including the promotion of Malaysia’s palm oil industry with the view of expanding local palm oil’s market in the country.
Mohd Khairuddin said local companies will have the opportunity to export palm oil in larger quantities and boost the acceptance of Malaysian palm oil products in the global market.
“Saudi Arabia has also committed to increasing its imports of Malaysian palm oil from 318,000 tonnes worth RM900 million last year to 500,000 tonnes worth an estimated RM1.5 billion this year,” he added.
The palm oil industry reportedly contributed RM72.8 billion in national revenue last year through the export of palm oil and its products to the international market.
This amount is about 14.18% more than the RM63.73 billion recorded in 2019 and the highest since 2017 (RM77.9 billion).
Mohd Khairuddin previously said there was an increase in demand for palm oil from Saudi Arabia for the production of hand sanitisers and soap during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the palm oil industry has a very bright future because it is not only used as cooking oil, but also in the pharmaceutical industry at home and abroad.