Posted on April 14, 2011, Thursday
SARIKEI: Smallholders who are responsible for 40 per cent of palm oil planted areas in the country are considered as one of the main components of the country’s palm oil industry. As such, the BN government accorded due consideration towards the role of the smallholders, Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) chairman, Dato Seri Utama Shahrir Abdul Samad said when officiating at a Palm Oil Management Course in Saratok on Tuesday.
Special attention was accorded towards increasing the production of the quality crop which was achievable through the application of new technology and good agriculture practice. This required the farmers to establish working relationship with MPOB’s Tunas officers, he said.
Furthermore, increasing the productivity and income of smallholder farmers was in line with the objective of the government’s Economic Transformation Programme to spearhead the country towards a high-income economy status by 2020, he pointed out.
“In that respect, eight Entry Point Projects (EPPs) ranging from upstream activities aimed at increasing production and downstream activities aimed at producing value-added products will be implemented,”
An increase in downstream activity was expected to generate an income of RM178 billion by 2020 compared to RM52.7 billion currently, he said.
The fast growth of palm oil industry in the past five decades had contributed immensely towards the country’s economic development, he said, adding, as the acreage of palm oil plantation was already 4.85 million hectares or 71 per cent of the country’s agricultural land by 2010, the industry had become the most thriving agricultural activity.
The government had also identified several strategic measures to further increase the production of palm oil, including that of the smallholders, he said. That included cutting of old palm oil trees (aged over 25 years) to pave the way for replanting of a new high-yielding breed.
According to him, there were a total of 449,415 ha with trees aged over 25 years old throughout the country of which 109,083ha were smallholders’ and 340,332ha were plantations. MPOB had also come with a new technology capable of increasing palm oil’s annual production to 26 ton per ha by 2020, he said, adding, for that the government had allocated a sum of about RM297 million to be utilised from this year till 2013.
In this programme, MPOB would supply seedlings and other agricultural inputs worth RM7,000 for a ha, he disclosed, adding, besides, some smallholder farmers were eligible to get RM500 monthly maintenance subsidy for a period of two years. Shahrir, advised the palm oil farmers, especially the smallholders to get in touch with MPOB to get the updates on every aspect of the industry.
Among those present were Deputy Minister of Transport, Jelaing Mersat, chairman of MPOB’s Integrated Research and Extension section director, Idris Omar and MPOB officers.