500,000 Tonnes Cut in Palm Oil Output Likely

Replanting to reduce production by 500,000 tonnes a year

KUALA LUMPUR: Palm oil output could be cut by 500,000 tonnes a year temporarily because of a government replanting initiative for smallholders, according to Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

“Taking into account the limited land available in the country and the need to preserve the environment, the current focus of the Government (replanting initiative) is geared towards enhancing productivity,” he said at the 7th Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil yesterday. Dompok said the Government had allocated RM100mil for the 2009-2010 period to assist smallholders in the replanting programme.

This investment was part of the Government’s push to boost productivity as the country was running short of additional estate land.

He said the replanting scheme was also in line with the Government’s longer-term target to produce a national average of 35 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches per ha per year by 2020 from the current level of 20 tonnes.

Dompok said the country had 157,000ha producing more than 1 million tonnes of palm oil that was certified as sustainable.

“While the certified palm oil is mostly from the plantation sector, it is also important due attention be given to bring on board the smallholders,” he said.

“In Malaysia, close to 40% of the planted areas are managed by smallholders and, as such, outreach efforts need to be made to bring on board this particular segment of the industry.”

To assist smallholders, the Government had allocated RM50mil, he said, adding: “This fund will be used for educating smallholders on the importance of adapting sustainability practices, as well as in the certification process.”

Source : The Star

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