Palm oil, palm export value to surpass RM70 bln

KUALA LUMPUR: The total export value of Malaysian palm oil and palm products for 2020 is expected to surpass RM70 billion, compared with RM67.5 billion recorded in 2019.

This is an admirable achievement by the sector, considering the various challenges it had to face throughout the year, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali.

He said the sector’s performance has not only benefited the country through the high import earnings but also benefitted the smallholders.

“I must congratulate the palm oil producers, particularly the smallholders, for their steadfastness and resilience in maintaining this industry despite the gloomy outlook.

“Recognising the importance of this industry, the government has quickly put into place policies to tackle issues which may impact the development of this vital industry,” he said in his keynote address at the Malaysian Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar 2021 (POTS Digital 2021).

Themed “Malaysian Palm Oil — Forging Ahead in the New Norm”, the four-day virtual event which started today is organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).

Mohd Khairuddin said 2020 had started on an optimistic note, but the impact and extent of the global pandemic were entirely unexpected, where socio-economic activities practically came to a halt worldwide.

To avoid a disruption in palm oil demand, the government had introduced various incentives such as the suspension of crude palm oil’s (CPO) export duty since June 2020, which helped to boost palm oil exports from June onwards.

“I am confident that Malaysia will not only recover from this challenge, it will also emerge stronger than ever before,” he said.

He added that the ministry and its agencies, namely the MPOC and the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), will ensure that Malaysia — the world’s second-largest palm oil producer — retains its foothold in major export markets, while exploring new opportunities at the same time.

Palm oil constitutes 30 per cent of the global oils and fats production, and plays a significant role in fulfilling demand in the global oils and fats market, he noted.

The minister stressed that Malaysia does care about the environment, and slammed the unfair criticism linked to palm oil that has affected farmers and smallholders’ livelihood.

“Claims that oil palm cultivation had led to the destruction of the world’s precious rainforests and the extinction of wildlife are entirely untruthful as Malaysia has over 60 national laws and regulations covering the protection of wildlife and the environment; health; workers’ safety and welfare; and control of pollutants,” he said.

Mohd Khairuddin emphasised that environmental protection has always remained at the heart of the government’s development plans as it pursues the national agenda of economic advancements and prosperity.

“Throughout our country’s development, we have always ensured that the environment is given the utmost importance, as reflected in our commitment to retain 55 per cent of our land area as rainforests,” he said.

On POTS Digital 2021, he said the event will not only address marketing issues, but it will also analyse other issues such as green and sustainable development and health concerns, taking into account the views of global industry leaders.

During the digital event, speakers will present a total of 27 papers, covering topics ranging from current issues in the palm oil industry, market challenges and development, sustainability challenges, innovative applications in the palm oil industry, nutritional and dietary aspects, as well as market updates and prices forecasts. – Bernama