Boost for Oil Palm Smallholders

SIBU: The Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) in the Prime Minister’s Department has allocated RM1 billion to help oil palm smallholders nationwide, to do new planting and replanting.

The amount, to be managed by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), will be for a period of three years, beginning this year.

MPOB Integration, Research and Extension Division director Idris Omar said this to reporters during a visit to two smallholders in Sarikei Division near here yesterday.

He said the government was committed to developing smallholdings in a more organised and professional manner as part of its programme to eradicate poverty among rural folks.

Idris said for this year, some 23,090ha nationwide had been approved of which 14,9088ha were for new planting and 8,182ha for replanting.

“The target set is 26,000 hectares. Sarawak which has still plenty of ideal land, has the most applications,” he said.

He added with organised oil palm smallholding being a new development for the state, some 3,280 people with 10,558ha altogether have applied to the Board to do new planting.

“We have approved 3,002 applications involving an area of 9,797ha . We also have given out some 1,174 seedlings to the first group of 667 farmers,” he said.

Idris said the MPOB aid would also include free fertilisers and professional advice and monitoring.

On the RM1 billion allocation, he said so far RM37.5 million had been spent on developing 3,256ha nationwide. “This includes RM14.7 million for providing seedlings and another RM22.8 million for land preparation,” he added.

Idris said that in Sarawak, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board would entertain applications from Native Customary Right land owners who wished to develop such land themselves.

“Provided such land is free from problems like overlapping ownership claims, we are prepared to come in

“They can get the application forms from their nearest MPOB office. Then they should contact their respective Members of Parliament for endorsement of their applications,” he said.

He also advised farmers to get only Malaysian Palm Oil Board and SIRIM certified seedlings, proven for their quality.

He said nationwide there were almost 500 nursery operators but only 270 were active producers of such certified seedlings while 74 had acquired the national Oil Palm Nursery Certificate Competency (OPNCC ) benchmark.

Idris said Sarawak too had seven OPNCC certified producers. – Bernama

Source: Business Times 

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