DHAKA: Malaysia is ramping up efforts to reverse the decline pattern in exports of palm oil to Bangladesh, which has dropped significantly this year compared to 2008.
Last year, 217,264 metric tonnes of palm oil were exported to Bangladesh, but from January to October this year, the export figures stood at only 56,726 metric tonnes, worth RM137 million.
“We are stepping up efforts by hosting trade fairs and exhibitions to steer forward. We hope in the future Malaysia’s level of share in Bangladesh market, which is 30 per cent, should increase,” Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok told the media in Dhaka Saturday.
“The potential is huge here (Bangladesh), it will only get better with increasing prosperity and requirement for oil and fats,” he said.
According to officials, the drastic drop in exports last year was due to defaults by Bangladeshi buyers as the commodity price reached an upward trend, rising as high as RM4,600 per metric tonne in March 2008.
Bangladesh, with a population of about 160 million people, imports over one million metric tones of palm oil to meet its growing domestic demand, and Malaysia had been a regular supplier.
However, of late Indonesia had also emerged as a major exporter to Bangladesh.
“There are plenty of opportunities for Malaysian private sector players to explore in Bangladesh,” Dompok said.
“Demand is increasing with tandem of economic growth and income. Current per capita consumption stands at 8.6 kg compared to the world’s average consumption of 22 kg,” he said.
He also asked the Bangladeshi government to utilise the Palm Oil Credit Payment Arrangement (POCPA), which was stopped some time ago.
The minister is in Dhaka to officiate the inaugural Malaysia-Bangladesh Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar 2009 (POTS), jointly organised by Malaysia Palm Oil Council (MPOC) and Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB).
Source: BERNAMA by P. Vijian