Sabah Oil Palm Sector Must Remain Resilient

PROVEN OPTION: Policymakers’ support vital, says IJM Plantations chief

SABAH’S palm oil industry must maintain the same pioneering spirit that  is partly responsible in positioning the state into what it is now — Malaysia’s largest crude palm oil (CPO) producer.

IJM Plantations chief executive officer and managing director Joseph Tek Choon Yee said in order to move forward, Sabah will require the same pioneering spirit and dedication that started the industry many decades ago.

“It will need the same amount of perseverance and resilience amid the multitude of challenges and opportunities confronting the palm oil industry in a number of ways.

“Sabah’s economic well-being may swim or sink with oil palm as it is the only proven option to date of a sustainable tropical plantation crop,” Tek told Business Times in an interview.

As such, he said, continued support from the policymakers, along with the thorough knowhow of the industry and other authorities, is pivotal in moving the industry forward.

Tek said if the successes of the past and present are to be used as a benchmark in moving forward, then all the key players, including government bodies, the private sector across the palm oil value chain and the smallholders, must be galvanised to work together.

“For Sabah to nurture a sustainable palm oil enterprise along the palm oil supply chain, its competitive edge must be sustained by balancing its economic sustainability and other socio-environmental aspects.”

Established in 1985, IJM is a medium-sized plantation company that has entered into a joint-venture agreement with Koperasi Pembangunan Desa to develop Desa Talisai.

Starting with 4,000ha of Desa Talisai estates, the area under oil palm cultivation has risen sevenfolds to about 30,000ha presently, all in the Sandakan and Sugut region in Sabah.

The group has also expanded its oil palm cultivation activities into Indonesia.

Source : New Straits Times 

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