KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 (Bernama) — Kudos to the Malaysian government for alleviating poverty and to ensuring food security for smallholders who are leading a decent life through oil palm cultivation.
This tribute comes from four Members of the European Parliament who described Malaysia’s oil palm industry as having played a crucial role in poverty eradication, improving prosperity for rural communities and preventing rural migration.
Endorsing the Malaysian Palm Oil as the “Jewel In The Crown”, they said the crop had done wonders in terms of bringing in export revenue as it is the biggest contributor to the agriculture industry.
The palm oil industry has contributed immensely to the nation’s economic growth and in increasing rural incomes.
Exports of palm oil products from Malaysia accounted for 25 per cent of the global export trade in oils and fats and 42 per cent of the global palm oil trade.
Malaysian palm oil products are currently exported to more than 150 countries worldwide including China, the European Union, Pakistan, the United States and India.
Member of European Parliament, Richard Ashworth said: “The crop is incredibly productive and has quite a formidable production capacity making Malaysia well suited to meet the world’s growing demand for oils and fats.
“When I go back home, firstly, I want to tell them (people) how well your government has done.
“Without a doubt, the Malaysian government has done extraordinary work, lifting tens of thousands of smallholders out of “absolute poverty”, giving them a decent standard of living.
“That’s impressive, intelligent and it has worked very well. It has actually allowed these smallholders social mobility,” he told Bernama at the end of a week-long visit to Malaysia at the invitation of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.
Oil palm cultivation involves some 207,000 independent smallholders covering 807,000 hectares.
Ashworth and his three other peers had a first-hand look at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certified United Plantations Bhd in Teluk Intan and visited Undan Oil Palm Estate; Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority; and Semenggoh Wild Life Rehabilitation Centre, all under Felcra Sarawak.
Member of European Parliament Nirj Deva and Ashworth represented South East England, Roger Helmer East Midlands England and Amjad Bashir on behalf of Yorkshire and the Humber region of the United Kingdom.
In 2014, the total oil palm planted area was 5.39 million hectares and this represents close to 72 per cent of the total agriculture land use.
Exports of palm oil products were valued at RM66.12 billion and accounted for 8.6 per cent of total merchandise exports from Malaysia.
The higher average palm oil prices in 2014 had increased total export earnings for the year by 3.4 per cent to RM63.4 billion as compared with RM61.3 billion in 2013.
Source : BERNAMA