KUALA LUMPUR: The acceptance of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO), a new standard set by Malaysia, by the world’s palm oil market is a challenge to the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.
Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said the MSPO was established as the national certification standard which takes into account Malaysia’s laws and regulations vis-a-vis the present standard, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
He said the MSPO certification was approved to ensure that Malaysia’s palm oil industry produced its products on a sustainable manner and was recognised by its international buyers and received wider access to the main export market such as the 27-member Brussels-based European Union (EU).
“Malaysia, as the world’s second largest palm oil producer, has to have its own standard.
The RSPO incurs costs and its terms and conditions often change as it is a business-to-business arrangement.
“Indeed, the challenge ahead of us now is to get the MSPO recognised by the international community, particularly our palm oil buyers,” he said when replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Norah Abdul Rahman (BN-Tanjong Manis) on whether the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry would start a local standard for the certification of the Malaysian palm oil with regard to sustainability.
Uggah said since the RSPO was implemented in 2007, only 918,000 hectares planted with oil palm in Malaysia were certified to have complied with RSPO of the 5.2 million hectares under oil palm cover in the country.
He said the oil palm estates did not receive RSPO recognition because they did not fulfil the terms and conditions under the international certification requirements.
“However, these estates can be considered for MSPO certification,” he said.
Uggah said Malaysia would cooperate with Indonesia, which introduced the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) standard two years ago, to enable the republic’s palm oil received higher premium and was produced in a sustainable manner.
The minister said Malaysia closely monitored groups that condemned planting of oil palm in foreign countries so that the market for Malaysia’s palm oil did not provide competition to products of their country.
“Only 0.4 per cent of the agriculture land are used for oil palm cultivation while more than 70 per cent are being used for livestock rearing and planting of soya bean.
“If we look at this data, there’s no reason to launch anti-palm oil campaigns,” he explained.
Uggah, however, said Malaysia’s palm oil exports to the EU have increased from 2.2 million metric tonnes in 2012 to 2.3 metric tonnes last year.
“This bears testimony that good quality local products can penetrate the international market at competitive price,” he added. — Bernama
Source : The Borneo Post