Discussing the future: Mah (third from left) meeting members of the European Parliament on issues concerning the palm oil industry. With him are (from left) Paolo Russo, Dr Barbara Kappel, Inese Vaidere, Nicola Caputo and Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah.
PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification compliance will be made mandatory by the end of 2019 to elevate the industry to global standards.
This is a move towards branding Malaysian palm oil as sustainably produced and safe.
The timeline for Malaysian oil palm planters to comply would comprise three stages, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.
The mandatory timeline for plantation industries that already have the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification is Dec 31, 2018, while the timeline for those without certification is on June 30, 2019.
Smallholders would have to get their certification done by Dec 31, 2019.
Currently, the implementation of the MSPO scheme, which started on Jan 1, 2015, is on a voluntary basis.
“We know that certification takes time but we need people to start getting on board.
“The ministry will be getting the financial incentives ready in June to help the industry with the certification process,” he told reporters after a discussion with six lawmakers from the European Parliament yesterday.
The visit by the lawmakers was part of a familiarisation programme organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.
The lawmakers are from Italy, Bulgaria, Austria, Germany and Latvia.
Mah said that Malaysia had been the leader in palm oil production but countries, especially in Europe, want Malaysia to adopt RSPO certification.
“To me, that is impossible for smallholders. As such, we must have our own standards.
“The MSPO is an upgrade and to help elevate the industry players in order to reach higher levels.
“We must be the Switzerland of palm oil,” said Mah, referring to products from the country, which are internationally known and recognised as possessing high quality.
As of December last year, a total of 222,778ha has been certified under MSPO.
The European Union is the second biggest market for Malaysian palm oil.
Last year, Malaysia’s export of palm oil and palm-based products to the union was RM10.30bil, an increase of 4% from RM9.89bil in 2015.