Govt to establish more cooperatives to help oil palm smallholders

Smallholder farmer Isnin Kasno on his palm oil plantation near Johor March 22, 2018. The Primary Industries Ministry plans to establish more cooperatives for oil palm smallholders. — Thomson Reuters Foundation/Michael Taylor pic
Smallholder farmer Isnin Kasno on his palm oil plantation near Johor March 22, 2018. The Primary Industries Ministry plans to establish more cooperatives for oil palm smallholders. — Thomson Reuters Foundation/Michael Taylor pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — The Primary Industries Ministry, through the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), plans to establish more cooperatives for oil palm smallholders.

Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim said the idea is to encourage them to work together in order to better manage their crops and increase income level through the adoption of Industry 4.0.

“However, proper planning is needed to see how we can integrate areas to areas and see if the smallholders are ready, as most of them are getting older.

“We will need to have more hand-holding sessions with the smallholders, MPOB and the Agriculture and Agro-based Ministry to see how we can kick-start more cooperatives,” she told reporters after delivering her keynote address at the Global AgriTech Summit 2019 (GATES 2019) here today.

Through MPOB, 10 cooperatives have so far been established for which the government provides a seed funding of RM100,000 each, she said.

“But the outcome of these cooperatives is yet to be known, so we will see how it works and how we can also get technology providers to work together in terms of introducing the right technology tools and application,” said Kok.

Meanwhile, on Malaysia’s earlier intention to lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) this month to challenge the European Union’s (EU) restrictions on palm biofuel, Kok said the matter will have to be postponed to early next year due to the ongoing Brexit issue.

“And also now not all EU commissioners have been sworn in following an election last May. It’s better to wait until it is finalised and the poll in the United Kingdom (general election called to break the Brexit deadlock) is over in December,” she said.

Asked if she has received any official feedback from the Indian government on the boycott of Malaysia’s palm oil, she only said that the matter will have to wait, as it was not raised by the Indian government but the Solvent Extractors’ Association.

MPOB, in its report, noted that palm oil exports to India decreased in September and October this year to 310,648 tonnes and 219,956 tonnes respectively from 550,452 tonnes in August.

However, in the January-October 2019 period, India’s crude palm oil (CPO) imports from Malaysia were higher at 4.128 million tonnes against 1.987 million in the same period last year.

The two-day GATES 2019 aims to share the latest trends and innovations and cultivate a technology-based agriculture community in the nation.

The inaugural event, presented by Agrobank, is attended by 200 delegates and 23 speakers from countries such as Austria, India, South Korea, Singapore, Kenya and Nigeria. — Bernama

Related Articles