PASIR GUDANG: The Government will focus on further strengthening research and development (R&D) activities and enhancing productivity in the palm oil industry.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the two key sectors of the industry would envisage Malaysia’s plan to become the hub for the palm oil industry.
He said under the road map for the local palm oil industry, the export earnings of palm oil and palm oil products were expected to reach RM186.15bil by 2020 from the current level of RM65.5bil.
Dompok said the R&D activities would focus on the production of new products and technologies; hence strengthening the capability of the industry to produce value-added palm oil-based products for the domestic and global markets.
“The industry must move away from labour-intensive into knowledge-based if Malaysia wants to remain as the leading player in the global palm oil industry,” he told reporters at the opening of the methyl ester sulfonate plant in Tanjung Langsat industrial park near here on Saturday.
Dompok said due the limited land availability for future plantation schemes, palm oil companies had no choice but to diversify and increase their involvement in downstream processing activities.
He said it was vital that industry players work closely with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, the agency entrusted to conduct R&D for commercial applications.
Presently, there more than 4.5 million hectares of planted oil palm trees in Malaysia, providing employment to more than one million people.
He said the Government would continue to take on board the views of the private sector by providing the necessary framework for the development of the palm oil industry.
Dompok said the Cabinet Committee on Palm Oil Competitiveness (CCPO) meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would meet on Jan 14 to discuss the matter and where the industry was heading and how Malaysia could remain competitive in the global palm oil industry.
Source : The Star by Zazali Musa