Teresa Kok

PUTRAJAYA: The B20 biodiesel programme for the transport sector is expected to be launched in phases next year, that would give a fillip to the crude palm oil (CPO) price which is projected to reach RM3,000 per tonne.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim said the programme would start in Langkawi, followed by Labuan, Sarawak, Sabah and subsequently in Peninsular Malaysia.

Teresa Kok

“A preliminary study and engineering design for the upgrading of the blending depot has also been approved with an allocation of RM35 million. This will involve 35 depots and are expected to be ready in the first quarter of next year,” she told reporters after the Ministry of Primary Industries’ gathering here, today.

Kok said the launching ceremony for the programme would be officiated by the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Feb 20 next year.

She said the CPO price which is now approaching RM2,800 per tonne, was expected to continue rising next year based on the positive trend, whereby the price was around RM1,700 per tonne in 2018 compared to now, as well as the high demand following the B20 implementation and the government’s efforts to explore new markets to boost exports.

The increase in the CPO price would not only benefit the country’s economy but also the industry especially smallholders, she said.

“The Christmas and Chinese New Year (celebrations) would see many countries importing palm oil from us and the implementation of the B20 programme would boost demand. If stock is low, price would go up,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kok said she would make a visit to Europe early next year to meet the commissioner and new parliament members of the European Union (EU) to present Malaysia’s efforts and success in promoting sustainable oil palm industry.

“We want to present to them what Malaysia has done in the last two years. Europe wants sustainable palm oil and we are doing it, even the smallholders when the government helps them to get the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification. Our oil palm industry players replant forest trees and contributed to forest conservation,” she said.

Highlighting one of Malaysia’s efforts, Kok said the additional RM1 cess per tonne of palm oil produced would be collected and parked into a fund for green initiatives, which will be utilised for wildlife conservation purposes and green initiatives, especially replanting of forest trees.

She hoped the EU will accept and recognise Malaysia’s green agenda and MSPO, thus import the commodity more as well as stop throwing accusations against palm oil.

On the MSPO certification, Kok said the target of 100 per cent by Dec 31 was not achieved as the challenge was with the smallholders, however, they are now more aware of the need for the certification as well have shown interest following the promotion by the media.

She said industry players’ awareness on the certification had increased whereby 62.14 per cent of the 5.85 million hectares of oil palm planted areas in Malaysia had achieved MSPO certification as at Dec 19 compared with only 17 per cent when she headed the ministry.

Kok said she was confident that the target of 70 per cent of the oil palm planted areas in Malaysia to be MSPO-certified could be achieved by February 2020. – Bernama