SIBU: Sarawak’s palm oil product export increased from RM4.04 billion in 2007 to RM12.17 billion last year, says Assistant Minister for Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee.
He added that until Dec 2017, the total area planted with oil palm in the state spanned 1.556 million hectares.
The state government has targetted to increase the total area planted to two million hectares by 2020 as there are still large areas of native customary rights (NCR) land yet to be developed, said Dr Annuar, who is also Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health.
The Nangka assemblyman was speaking at the closing of the ‘Awareness Programme For NCR Oil Palm Smallholders on MSPO Certification at Sibu Civic Centre yesterday. It was jointly organised by Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and Dayak Oil Palm Planters Association of Sarawak (DOPPA).
Dr Annuar said: I am amazed by the keen interest of smallholders in the planting of oil palm. From 22,816 hectares in 2006, the area planted with the crop by smallholders has increased nine times to 212,142 hectres in June 2017.
It also proves that planting of oil palm in rural areas has helped farmers to boost their income and elevate their socio-economic status.
He said oil palm industry is not only important to the state but the nation as a whole. The industry had created many job opportunities to the extent it has to import workers from outside the country.
Touching on the programme, Dr Annuar hoped all participants would make good use of what they had learned, stressing the importance of Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification.
He said better understanding on the subject will enable small holders to comply with the requirements of MSPO in selling their produce to palm oil mills.
Some 200 farmers from Sibu, Mukah and Kapit attended the programme.
Also present at the programme were Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development’s permanent secretary representative Fedrick John George, DOPPA secretary Incham Serdin, Sibu Resident Charles Siaw, Kapit Resident Joseph Belayong, MPOB Sibu division office head Seli Mohamat.
Source: Sarawak Government