MPOB Lowers CPO Output Forecast

The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has lowered its crude palm oil (CPO)

output forecast for this year to 17.6 million tonnes from an earlier

forecast of 18.1 million tonnes, as the industry experiences lower oil

extraction rates.

“Heavier-than-usual rains have disrupted harvesting and lowered palm

oil extraction rates,” said MPOB director-general Datuk Mohd Basri

Wahid.

The revision means Malaysia’s palm oil output is

stagnating at 17.6 million tonnes for the third straight year, while

Indonesia continues to see rising production.

The Malaysian

Palm Oil Association and Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association

had complained of acute shortage of harvesters, resulting in lower oil

output and export opportunity loss of some RM10 billion a year.

Oil palm planters have also appealed to the government to allow for

more flexibility in the hiring of skilled harvesters from Indonesia.

In response, Mohd Basri said the Cabinet is still deliberating on the country’s foreign worker policy.

Meanwhile, he encouraged planters to use the MPOB-patented motorised sickle, called Cantas.

“There is a RM1,000 subsidy for the purchase of Cantas. Its retail

price ranges from RM2,500 to RM4,500 per unit. A harvester using the

Cantas is able to cover 50ha every month,” he said.

On replanting

efforts initiated in 2008, Mohd Basri admitted that the execution of

the plan to replace unproductive trees with higher yielding ones was

slow.

So far, the exercise has only achieved 70 per cent, or

139,000ha of its 200,000ha replanting target. The current high CPO price

of RM2,700 per tonne has most probably prompted some planters to delay

chopping down their old trees.

The MPOB can use RM200 million

from a price stabilisation fund to give back RM1,000 per ha to

smallholders scheduled to replant their unproductive trees.



Source : Business Times

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