Get certified by Jan 2020 or risk losing licence, minister tells oil palm farmers

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok addresses the MPOB International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition 2019 in Kuala Lumpur November 19, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok addresses the MPOB International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition 2019 in Kuala Lumpur November 19, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — Oil palm farmers without the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification will be penalised from January 1 next year, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok warned today.

She said the government is serious about sustainability and will revoke the licences or take action against non-MPSO oil palm producers with plantations sized at 100 acres and above.

“In fact, to show our seriousness in ensuring that our industry players are certified, while taking into account the difficulties facing smallholders, MPOB has announced that legal action will be taken or licence will be cancelled for oil palm growers with plantation acreage of 100 acres and above and oil palm mills that are not MSPO-certified commencing January 1, 2020.

“In fact, the palm oil industry is governed by more than 60 national laws and regulations including the stringent licensing requirements by MPOB throughout the supply chain,” Kok said at the international palm oil congress and exhibition organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board here.

She added that any violation in meeting the terms of the MSPO would result in the operation licences being revoked.

Kok said Malaysia acknowledged the benefits of palm oil and the importance of food safety.

“In fact, the palm oil industry in Malaysia has been instructed to adhere to the European Union (EU) prescribed level of 3-MCPDE of 2.5 ppm for food products by 2021.

“A few rounds of consultations with our industry players were held and we are now in the process of enforcing several regulations to ensure that palm oil produced meets the acceptable safety level for 3MCPDE,” she added.

In her speech, Kok said 60 per cent of oil palm estates in Malaysia and 69.9 per cent of palm oil mills were MSPO certified as of October.

“This is indeed a commendable achievement for a developing country like Malaysia, whereby 40 per cent of its oil palm plantations are under the management of smallholders.

“No other countries in the world has mandated their oils and fats industry to be certified 100 per cent, especially when there are smallholders involved. Malaysia has taken the lead,” she added.

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