MUKAH: The Government expects the palm oil industry to generate RM178bil in revenue by 2020, says Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas.
He said on Thursday this could be achieved through higher productivity and greater palm oil-based activities in the downstream sector.
The industry's strong growth over the past 50 years had played a crucial role in the country's vibrant economic growth, he was speaking to about 300 oil palm smallholders in Mukah Division at a seminar organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).
Oil palm is planted in 5.23 million hectares or more than 70 per cent of the country's agricultural land.
Uggah said the government, through the MPOB, had implemented various initiatives and strategies to produce higher oil palm yield and more downstream industries.
"Under the Economic Transformation Programme of the National Key Economic Areas, eight projects are being implemented currently. The projects involve planting and replanting of oil palm, value-added downstream processing of palm oil-based products," he said.
Uggah said concerted efforts are being made to increase fresh fruit bunches' harvest to 26 tonnes per hectare by 2020.
The minister said the government recognised the roles played by smallholders whether they were individual farmers or were part of a group under the sponsorship of government agencies.
He said smallholders are responsible for 40% of the total oil palm planted areas in the country.
"In Sarawak alone, we have 18,513 smallholders who have planted oil palm in 94,437 hectares," he said. - Bernama