Oil palm industry needs to be revamped to be more sustainable — Johari

KUALA LUMPUR — The oil palm industry in Malaysia needs to be revamped, including ensuring the involvement of all related parties, to guarantee the sustainability of the sector in the future.

In stressing this matter, Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Ghani said industry players and smallholders need to work together to develop the industry without involving a lot of government allocations.

“Many issues need to be resolved, not only involving the ministry but also industry players such as the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), Felcra Bhd and the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda).

“These (institutions) have to be strong so that the smallholders can depend on them. Otherwise, it will be difficult for the smallholders and it will affect their income,” he said on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme yesterday.

Elaborating further, Johari also emphasised the importance of implementing existing policies to attract interest in the purchasing of finished products as well as raw materials in the long term.

Apart from that, the perception of employment in the industry needs to be changed especially among the younger generation. For example, young people from settler families certainly have a foundation in the industry, he noted.

“Thus, what is needed is professional training through the technical and vocational education training (TVET) that can produce professionals in this industry for the future,” he said, adding that this would help to tackle the labour shortage issues in the industry.

The minister pointed out that the shortage of about 40,000 foreign workers in the oil palm sector has significantly impacted yields, leading to an estimated loss of RM7.9 billion in export value for Malaysia.

Regarding the issue of the European Union’s Deforestation-free Products Regulation (EUDR), he said the government is always aware and compliant with the rules to produce quality palm oil and preserve its sustainability.

“I want to see every estate in Malaysia become a world-class plantation, with that all parties must comply with the guidelines and regulations that have been set,” he added.

Johari said through the Agricommodity Policy 2030, the government will preserve the environment as well as increase the productivity of the workforce and protect workers’ rights.

This positive development will increase the value of palm oil exports and attract investments into the country, he added. — BERNAMA / pic credit: mpoc.org.my