Sarawak minister: Palm oil smallholders encouraged to join Dayak planters group

Sarawak minister: Palm oil smallholders encouraged to join Dayak planters group
Sarawak Food Industry, Commodities and Regional Development deputy minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Ismail (4th right) receives a souvenir from Doppa president Napolean Royal Ningkos, witnessed by Miri MP Chiew Choon Man (2nd right) and others. — Borneo Post pic

MIRI, Nov 19 — More palm oil smallholder farmers in the state are encouraged to join and patronise the Sarawak Dayak Palm Oil Planters Assocation (Doppa).

In making this call, Minister of Food Industry, Commodities and Regional Development Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi said through a body like Doppa, problems and issues can be collectively raised to the authorities.

“This will also facilitate the effective distribution of state government incentives through the cooperation of Doppa and relevant government agencies,” he said.

His text-of-speech was read by his deputy minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Ismail when officiating Doppa’s annual dinner at a leading hotel here today.

According to Dr Rundi, the state government is committed to collaborating with the federal government to ensure that smallholder farmers, particularly in Sarawak and Malaysia as a whole, are not unduly burdened by the European Union’s Deforestation-free Regulation (EUDR).

He added his ministry is also aware of the challenges faced by smallholders — including those relating to EUDR, state and central government incentives and application conditions.

He also noted the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil certification has gained recognition as a benchmark for sustainable oil palm management in several countries such as India, China, Turkey, Kenya and Japan.

“The contribution of private palm oil smallholder farmers to Malaysia’s palm oil production is significant, accounting for over 48,000 smallholder farmers in the country.

“Smallholders account for 30 to 40 per cent of the country’s total crude palm oil output. However, the average yield per hectare for smallholders is currently as low as 12 tonnes compared to 18 tonnes by commercial producers,” he said.

Dr Rundi commended Doppa’s involvement in helping smallholder farmers in Sarawak, particularly its initiative to increase its members’ knowledge and management of palm oil plantations.

He also encouraged smallholders to diversify their crops to ensure a more stable income in the long run.

Meanwhile, over 550 smallholders from across Sarawak attended the event.

During the event, Abdul Rahman also announced a Minor Rural Project allocation worth RM10,000 for Doppa to carry out its activities.

Also present were Doppa president Napolean Royal Ningkos and Miri MP Chiew Choon Man. — Borneo Post

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