TAWAU: The Sabah government wants to see more palm oil sector players in the state, including small estates, subscribing to the production of sustainably produced palm oil under the ambit of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said by following the RSPO, the scope of palm oil-related activities and palm oil-related industrial sectors could truly attest to Malaysian-produced certified sustainable palm oil.
“Global demand, in particular from the European Union and the United States, demands sustainably produced palm oil. I hope the East Malaysia Planters’ Association (EMPA) members are responsive to the sustainability requirements and are making progress in producing certified sustainable palm oil.”
Musa said this in his speech, which was delivered by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin, at the EMPA annual dinner here last night.
The RSPO was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders.
RSPO is a not-for-profit, market-led association that represents stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry — oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social or developmental NGOs — to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.
Musa also encouraged plantation industries to intensify investment on mechanisation of their plantation activities to reduce dependence on foreign labour as future limited labour supply from neighbouring countries could be a constraint.
“Another area which I believe the plantation industry needs to pay serious attention to is the improvement of infrastructure, housing and other facilities for plantation workers.
“Owners cannot just focus on profits alone. In the long run, such measures will help attract interest from locals who may be keen to work in plantations,” Musa added.
On the palm oil industry’s future, Musa, who is also state finance minister, said the government decision to turn Lahad Datu into a palm oil downstream processing hub had received positive response from foreign and local investors.
He said apart from investments directly linked to palm oil, the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) in Lahad Datu also offered opportunities to a wide range of supporting industries needed for that sector to flourish.
Musa said the government was committed to the POIC’s development as the future of palm oil in the world’s edible oil market remains bright.
Source : NST