PUTRAJAYA, Jan 5 — The palm oil industry, being the fourth largest contributor to the economy, is expected to maintain its 2021 performance in 2022 backed by various marketing and promotional efforts to be conducted by the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities and its agencies.

Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said she is optimistic that the industry would be able to achieve its goal with palm oil production likely reaching about 20 million tonnes.

“We still have the potential of meeting the number and we would still be able to cater for the global vegetable oil market.

“And with the lower supply amid high demand, we will still be able to enjoy high crude palm oil (CPO) price,” she told reporters at the Reach and Remind, Friends of the Industry Seminar 2022 and Dialogue organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) today.

She said last year’s successes and accomplishments were accompanied by new challenges.

“Due to the global shutdown of borders as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, obtaining foreign labour has become difficult,” she said.

She said palm oil production was severely impacted since the plantation worker shortfall, estimated at 75,000, causing harvesting activities to be delayed and lowering the quality of the fruit bunches harvested.

The minister said to overcome this problem, the government has agreed to employ 32,000 foreign workers with strict compliance with the outlined SOP.

She said despite similar obstacles that the industry might face this year, industrial players are optimistic that they would be able to meet the production level for this year to cater for the current market like India and China as well as supporting the government’s ambition to penetrate new markets.

Meanwhile, the minister said 2022 would also be a year for the ministry to strengthen its promotional efforts for the global recognition of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) as Malaysia’s sustainability standard.

“A 360-degree marketing and promotional programmes to ensure visibility and understanding of MSPO will be undertaken, ranging from engagements with key government officials, seminars and talks with trade associations and the hotel, restaurant and cafe (HORECA) sector as well as roadshows and social media advertising for the general consumers.

“We see this as a long-term endeavour that will start with our neighbouring countries and the ripple effect will finally be seen on products proudly carrying our MSPO logo, an indication that the sustainability standard has gained international stature,” she said.

Zuraida also said that in May this year, four new countries — Colombia, Ghana, Honduras and Papua New Guinea, would become full members of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC).

She said the inclusion of the new members would undoubtedly bolster the organisation’s credibility and ability to pursue the interests of palm oil and voice out its stand against the European Union’s unfair treatment of the palm oil industry.

“We hope that the CPOPC will emphasise the necessity of cooperation to achieve mutual objectives and defend the industry against recurring negative perceptions and false claims in order to safeguard the interests of its member countries.

As of November 2021, the total exports of Malaysian palm oil and its derivatives stood at 22.14 million tonnes and due to high palm oil prices, the total revenue increased by 40 per cent to RM91.4 billion compared with 2020.

India retained its position as the number one destination for Malaysian palm oil export with 3.2 million tonnes. — Bernama