50,000 Visitors Expected for Commodity Event

In 2007 the Malaysia International Commodity Conference saw only 10,800 visitors PETALING JAYA: The biennial Malaysia International Commodity Conference and Showcase (MICCOS) 2009 that will kick off in Serdang on Thursday is expected to draw about 50,000 visitors, a significant increase over the 10,800 visitors to MICCOS 2007. Themed “Commodity As An Industry”, the four-day event is organised by the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry. It will showcase the latest technologies, innovations and products in palm oil, rubber, cocoa, timber, pepper, tobacco, kenaf, jatropha and sago. The event is targeted at commodity producers, manufacturers and exporters from Malaysia and abroad. There will be business matching and seminars for investors and smallholders on major commodities like palm oil, timber, cocoa and rubber. MICCOS 2009 has the full support of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB), Malaysian Timber Industry Board, Malaysian Cocoa Board (MCB), Malaysian Pepper Board and National Tobacco Board. Other related agencies supporting the event are Malaysian Palm Oil Council, Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council, Malaysian Timber Council (MTC), Malaysian Timber Certification Council and Malaysian Furniture Promotion Council. An official from MTC told StarBiz: “I believe MTC has managed to attract the largest foreign participation for MICCOS 2009.” MTC is organising a Global Timber Buyers mission with a total 49 delegates representing 35 companies from 16 countries; including Germany, Greece, Uzbekistan, Hungary, Poland, India, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and China. In addition, about 100 participants from 61 Malaysian timber-based companies will take part in the business-matching session at MICCOS. MPOB chairman Datuk Sabri Ahmad, meanwhile, said the board would focus on sustainability issues to narrow the information gap with stakeholders as well as deliberate on what the palm oil industry was undertaking. “To ensure that local palm oil is produced on a sustainable basis, we want to inform the public on MPOB’s new technologies that can boost productivity and add value to the commodity,” he added. At MICCOS 2009, MPOB will hold a seminar on environment and sustainability to encourage industry players to adopt practices such as reducing green house gas emission and increasing the application of biofertilisers. “We will also focus on assisting smallholders to increase their income via increasing output as well as integrated livestock and cash crops farming,” said Sabri. Some 20,000 smallholders are expected at MICCOS 2009. National Smallholders Association (NASH) president Datuk Aliasak Ambia said the event would be a good avenue for smallholders to get the latest updates on the progress of major cash crops like palm oil and rubber. “Apart from the upstream activities, NASH wants smallholders to consider venturing into downstream activities to further improve their income,” he added. Aliasak said NASH was also pushing hard to encourage rubber planting among smallholders and planned to seek MRB assistance for this purpose. NASH represents about 400,000 smallholders nationwide. MCB director-general Datuk Dr Azhar Ismail said: “Many overlook the significant contribution of RM3.35bil by the cocoa sector to the country’s export earnings in 2008.” In fact, there has been growing interest to plant cocoa in Malaysia among big planters and smallholders. Through its participation in MOCCIS 2009, MCB wants to educate potential cocoa players on the opportunities in and incentives for upstream and downstream activities. Cocoa smallholders are eligible for an incentive of RM6,500 per ha. Meanwhile, big plantation companies can find out more about new high-yield clones provided by MCB.

Source : The Star by Hanim Adnan

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