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Wednesday, 4 September 2013
By: HANIM ADNAN
The MSPO standard will initially be on a voluntary basis for local oil palm planters. “However, the Government wants to see all planters adopting it in the long term,” Douglas Uggah Embas said at a press conference at the close of the two-day commodity industry players’ consultation with the ministry.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is expected to launch the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) standard by next year, exactly three years after Indonesia launched its national palm oil standard in 2011.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said: “The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) is working full-time on the MSPO, which is in the advanced stages of implementation.”
The MSPO standard will initially be on a voluntary basis for local oil palm planters.
“However, the Government wants to see all planters adopting it in the long term,” he said at a press conference at the close of the two-day commodity industry players’ consultation with the ministry yesterday.
Although many top Malaysian oil palm plantation companies were already members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an international voluntary sustainable palm oil standard, Embas pointed out that “Malaysia feels that the RSPO had many disadvantages, especially to the medium and small oil palm planters who are non-RSPO compliant.”
“For smaller planters, it is too costly to join the RSPO (membership).
“Also, the RSPO keeps changing its goal post and imposing stringent conditions, making it tougher for oil palm producers despite there being little premium fetched for the RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil in the exporting markets,” he said.
Embas said Malaysia was hopeful the branding of local palm oil under the MSPO would enable better access to major markets such as the European Union, the United States and Australia, and perhaps, better premiums, given the high quality and sustainably produced local palm oil.
On the oil palm and rubber replanting programme for smallholders, he said his ministry would seek further allocation from the Goverment to extend the replanting period for 2014 to 2020.
From 2011 to 2013, about RM2.49bil had been allocated for replanting, covering 108,000ha of oil palm and 124,000ha of rubber.
On another note, Embas said his ministry would put forward to the Cabinet proposals by industry players for a review of the palm oil windfall profit tax, sales tax by state governments and the cooking oil subsidy scheme.
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