Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund (MPOWCF)
MALAYSIA’s oil palm industry will spend RM4.4 billion to replant some
365,000 hectares from 2011 to 2013, an official from the Performance
Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) in the Prime Minister’s
“We cannot force landowners to do something
they don’t want to, especially at the current high palm oil prices. But
we can encourage via financial incentives,” John Low, Pemandu’s director
of the national key result areas (NKEA) on palm oil, rubber and
agriculture told Business Times in an interview in Petaling Jaya recently.
“If replanting is not accelerated, it will take 14 years to clear the
backlog. It is critical to clear the backlog now as each year an average
of 125,000 hectares of trees are due for replanting,” he said.
There are 161,000 independent smallholders in Malaysia. With 600,000
hectares, they account for 12.8 per cent of the country’s planted area.
Low said the government will pay RM1 billion to independent
smallholders, which own some 600,000ha throughout the country, to
compensate for the loss of income from the replanting activities.
Independent smallholders with 40 hectares or less are entitled to a
one-off replanting payment of more than RM6,000 per hectare and monthly
payments of RM500 per household for two years.
On the other
hand, private and government-linked plantation companies are expected to
spend RM3.4 billion to replant aging oil palms in the next three years.
Also present at the interview was Malaysian Palm Oil Council chief
executive officer Tan Sri Yusof Basiron. He referred to MPOB statistics
showing Malaysia’s licensed seed producers churning out some 80 million
germinated seeds per year.
“We only need 50 million seeds a year, so there’s enough to go around,” Yusof said.
Asked if the government guarantees that 100 per cent of the seeds for
sale are of the genuine, high-yielding dura and pisifera hybrids, Yusof
said: “That would not be possible. Therefore, we advise independent
smallholders to deal directly with licensed seed suppliers and not
Some licensed seed producers, like Applied
Agricultural Resources Sdn Bhd, go the extra mile to ensure seedlings’
authenticity by using a new laser tattooing technology and pre-agreed
codes with its clients.
On rumours of select MPOB enforcement
officers abusing their powers instead of enforcing against the supply
and sale of fake seedlings, Low said: “We have regulators watching over
the industry but it is also for the industry to report any wrongdoings.
We’re all for weeding out wrongdoings but without any formal complaint
and evidence we’re unable to act on hearsay.”
the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, a key piece of new laws under the
Government Transformation Programme, that protects the identity of
informants revealing acts of corruption.
immunity from civil and criminal actions. However, this protection can
be revoked, if and when, the whistleblower is found to be involved in
Low said as a precautionary measure against
graft, MPOB enforcement officers will be rotated periodically. “We want
to eliminate opportunities that could facilitate bribery, corruption and
abuse of powers,” he said.
On the downstream industry, Low
noted the government’s plans to extend the Brain Gain Malaysia programme
to woo Malaysian chemists, food scientists and
fast-moving-consumer-goods marketing specialists in leading global
Currently, the oleochemicals industry suffers from
low-profit margin. Malaysia is producing mostly basic oleochemicals to
make soap, detergent and cosmetics.
What we want to do is to
spur production of higher-priced specialty oleochemicals to make
agro-chemicals, surfactants, bio-lubricants, bio-polyols and glycerol
“We want to retain and attract the best brains to
Malaysia. There’s still good growth prospects in the downstream
businesses,” he said.
Low noted that he had met up with
tocotrienol producers, who highlighted the need for more public funding
to carry out clinical trials.
Currently, there are several
groups of scientists, conducting clinical trials on the effectiveness of
palm oil vitamin E in preventing stroke, fatty liver syndrome and
Source : Business Times
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