KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC) lauded the Finance Ministry's allocation, under the 2020 Budget, to tackle smear campaigns against palm oil and raise the biodiesel mandate throught the country.
When contacted by telephone today, MPOCC chief executive officer Chew Jit Seng said, "stakeholders throughout the palm oil value chain are grateful for the RM27 million allocation to tackle smear campaigns against the palm oil industry."
Indeed, smear campaigns on the global palm oil industry are unethhical and have increasingly proved to become barriers to trade.
For many decades, oil palm planters across tropical and developing Asia have had to contend with such underhanded smear tactics.
In facing such trade barriers, oil palm planters are unjustifiably denied equal opportunities to export their produce when compared with rival vegetable oils extratcted from soy, rapeseed and sunflower.
Chew noted Malaysia earns between US$15 million and US$20 billion from palm oil exports per year and accounts for 8 per cent of Malaysia’s economy.
Businesses related to palm oil employ more than two million people in Malaysia, including more than 650,000 small farmers who account for 40 per cent of the land under cultivation.
"The palm oil value chain is important in terms of employment, foreign exchange earnings and socio-economic interests of smallholders in bridging rural and urban development gap," he told the New Straits Times.
Under the 2020 Budget, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had announced the government's decision to raise biodiesel mandate to B20 from the current B10.
Such a move, Chew said, would help drive domestic demand by an additional 500,000 tonnes per year. "Malaysia's plan to raise the biodiesel mandate together with Indonesia will be supportive towards palm oil pricing in the global market."
MPOCC is responsible for the development of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification that proves oil palm cultivation is carried out sustainably, balancing the needs of People, Planet and Profits.
MPOCC monitors third-party audit companies (certification bodies or CBs) accredited by the Department of Standards Malaysia to implement the MSPO and supply chain certification standards with stakeholders throughout Malaysia's palm oil value chain.
Among the benefits MSPO certification accord are better extraction and processing of palm oil; safeguarding of smallholder rights, better access to loans or capital from bankers; adequate environmental protection; improved farm management records; and reputation assurance among consumers who are willing to pay a premium.
"Ultimately, the MSPO certification seeks to drive higher productivity throughout the supply chain. The certification adds value and we strive towards attaining premium in palm oil pricing in the export market," Chew said.