Thursday, April 21, 2011

Palm oil smallholders critical component in nation’s oil palm industry – Chairman

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.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sarawak palm oil industry to generate RM35 billion annually

From The Borneo Post

Posted on April 9, 2011, Saturday
KUCHING: Sarawak is the final frontier of the Malaysian oil palm industry, a major source of revenue that is strategic to rural development, according to planters in the state. Although the industry in Sarawak which started in earnest in the late 1980s has yet to realise its full potential, it has already brought great benefits to the state, including infrastructure development in the rural areas, they said.

“Oil palm is a strategic industry for rural centric development and can alleviate poverty,” Datuk Abdul Hamed Sepawi, chairman of the Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association, told Bernama. “If not oil palm, what then is the alternative for rural growth and economic development in Malaysia?” he asked.

Oil palm has been planted on 1.1 million hectares of state and native customary rights land, whose owners enjoy a share of dividends. The state government has earmarked two million hectares or 15 per cent of state land for oil palm plantation.

Hamed recalled that oil palm was the economic security crop for Malaysia during the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98, when it was one of the most important sources of foreign exchange. “The industry adopts sustainable practices using standard operation procedures to ensure that it will continue to bring prosperity to the state,” Hamed said.

He said the association worked closely with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board and research organisations to make certain that good management practices and the sustainability approach were observed. “We look forward to working with the government in setting up a dedicated oil palm plantation institution in Sarawak to develop all the skills the industry needs,” Hamed added.

Association secretary Philip Ho said the industry could generate massive opportunities for people in different professions. Right now, there was a shortage of workers, making necessary recruitment from outside, he said.
Ho said that plantations had a lifespan of over 30 years per cycle. Projecting future income, he said: At an average of 25-30 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches per hectare and at RM700 per tonne, two million hectares can generate around RM35 billion annually to the state.” From 2001 to 2009, he noted, the oil palm industry in Sarawak contributed RM916 million to the tax revenue of the state. – Bernama

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

MPOB to assist local smallholders in oil palm planting, replanting scheme

Posted on April 5, 2011, Tuesday by the Borneo Post
INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY: Dompok (standing, centre), Riotd (standing, fifth left) and Adzmi (standing, fifth right) with Cantas Discount Scheme recipients.

SERIAN: The government through the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) will allocate RM7, 000 per hectare to smallholders for them to participate in the replanting and new planting of oil palms. Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the assistance was to increase the country’s palm oil production as it has been identified as one of the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA. Dompok said the Palm Replanting Scheme for Small Farmers (TSSPK) includes the chopping down of palm trees older than 25 years old and those no longer productive.

Under TSSPK, the government also provided smallholding maintenance assistance (CPC) of RM500 per month for two years to successful applicants.In addition to increasing oil palm production, TSSPK also helped to open new land for small scale farmers.
“We want to encourage small scale farmers in Sarawak and Sabah to go into the new planting and replanting scheme.”This is the reason why the government provides assistance of RM7, 000 per hectare to cover costs for fertilisers, insecticides, weed killers and more,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after officiating the ‘Pemimpin Bersama Pekebun Kecil Sawit’ at Ranchan Recreation Park here yesterday. Also present were Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs who is also Serian MP Datuk Richard Riot, and MPOB’s Licensing and Enforcement Division director Adzmi Hassan.

According to Dompok, Sarawak has recorded a total of 10,417 small scale farmers for oil palm plantations with an area of 58,800 hectares.Thus, he urged them to increase productivity to enhance their production of palm oil. At the same time Dompok said the ministry was trying to get more funds for other cash crops like pepper and cocoa.

For pepper he said the state is the highest producer of black pepper, which is more than 90 per cent of national production in the pepper industry. While for the cultivation of cocoa, he said at one time there were more than 200,000 hectares, now it had declined to only 20,000 hectares.