KUCHING: Oil palm planters have been asked to create
“corridors’’ in their estates for wildlife, particularly the endangered
orang utan, to roam in their natural habitats.
Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said
non-governmental organisations had raised their concerns on the impact
of oil palm development on wildlife.
“The creation of such
corridors will contribute towards a positive image on the part of the
industry for taking onboard conservation issues.
will reflect the balancing of development needs and preservation of the
environment,’’ he added when opening the first meeting between Malaysian
and Indonesian oil palm growers at Kuching Hilton Monday.
press conference later, Dompok said he would meet Sabah wildlife
director and oil palm plantation owners on the creation of such
corridors for the animals.
He said the areas to be preserved as
wildlife corridors would depend on the size of a plantation project.
Dompok urged Malaysian and Indonesian oil palm planters to adopt
good and sustainable agricultural practices to thwart the
unsubstantiated allegations by western anti-palm oil movements related
to sustainability and greenhouse gases emission.
allegations can lead to distorted conclusions about the environmental
damage due to oil palm cultivation. We should endeavour not to
compromise on sustainable practices.
“If we do not follow these
basic rules and adhere to environmental needs, we may fall prey to these
“If the industry does not adhere to sustainable
practices, the consequences of these actions are damaging, and it has
far reaching impacts,’’ he said.
Dompok said an adverse impact
would affect the incomes of smallholders in Malaysia and Indonesia whose
holdings made up about 40% of the total planted areas.
that oil palm had become an important strategic crop for the development
of the rural economy by providing jobs, alleviating poverty and raising
the living standard of the people.
Malaysia now has 4.6mil
hectares of oil palm plantations that employ more than one million
Dompok said palm oil contributed to more than one-third
of the agricultural gross domestic product (GDP), and earned RM49.5bil
in exports last year, up from RM14.9bil in 2000.