KUCHING: Sarawak has the largest area under oil palm and having the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification in the country, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.
After a meeting with Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok at his office here yesterday, Uggah said this was a serious indication of efforts in developing and strengthening the position of the crop in the country.
Earlier both ministers had agreed that the certification was of absolute importance for the country’s palm oil industry.
Quoting statistics from Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Uggah said as of Oct 31 this year 359,811ha (23 per cent) had been MSPO-certified from the total planted areas of 1.555 million hectares.
This is the highest in the country, followed by Sabah. Out of the 1,546 million hectares of total planted area in Sabah, 347,014ha (22 per cent) were similarly certified. Sarawak too has 30 mills (out of 80) certified while Sabah has 36, Johor (13), Perak (six), Pahang (eight), and Selangor (five).
There are 115 mills certified from the total of 454 mills nationwide, he said.
According to MPOB too, he said out of the total area of 227,277ha under independent smallholders in Sarawak, some 5543.27ha had been certified.
For plantations, out of the total area of 1,246,448 ha from 112 estates, 354,267ha have obtained the certification.
Uggah, who is also Minister of Agriculture Modernisation, Native Land and Regional Development, gave his assurance that the Sarawak government would continue to give its fullest support to the federal government for the rest or any new development areas to be so certified.
However, he hoped the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) would consider increasing the number of accreditation officers for the purpose in Sarawak given its huge area.
He said the certification was important to allow the country to continue exporting its palm oil to European Union countries.
All plantations and smallholders nationwide are expected to comply with the certification requirement by end of 2019,he said.
He was glad to note that Sarawak’s largest government land development agency, Salcra, had obtained 100 per cent certification for all its estates.
On another matter, Uggah hoped the MPOB too would continue with efforts to stop the theft of FFBs, saying this was still an outstanding issue in the industry.
He said there should be strict monitoring of all mills as had been done before to stop people from selling suspected stolen FFBs, which could threaten the industry.
On rubber, he suggested that the federal government helped set up the Sarawak Rubber City.
He said Sarawak had great potentials for rubber with Salcra targetting to develop 300,000ha of Native Customary Right land for the purpose. It too had 165,000ha of matured rubber trees.
We can consider opening up more plantations of 5,000ha to 10,000ha if needed. Sarawak would then be in a good position to supply 100,000 tonnes of latex concentrate to Peninsula Malaysia for gloves production.
He said the country was now importing some 300,000 tonnes from Thailand for the purpose.
We too hope the federal government would continue giving us subsidies for rubber.
Secretary general of the Ministry of Primary Industry Datuk Zurinah Pawanteh, Uggah’s ministry permanent secretary Datuk Ik Pahon and a political secretary to the chief minister Dr Richard Rapu were among those present.
Source: SARAWAK GOVERNMENT