PUTRAJAYA: The timeline for the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification compliance by local oil palm planters is expected to be announced within the next two weeks.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said the MSPO was seen as a move towards branding local palm oil as sustainably produced and safe.
“The palm oil industry has been portrayed as advocating environmentally unfriendly practices such as deforestation, hence contributing to a loss of biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions, while facing other evolving issues related to health concerns and inaccurate information about the nutritional benefits of the product.
“It is imperative for Malaysia to brand our palm oil as nutritional, sustainable and safe for human consumption.
“Hence, it is vital to make the MSPO certification scheme mandatory,” Mah told a press conference after his opening address at the palm oil stakeholders’ consultation on “The Way Forward for MSPO Certification” here yesterday.
The implementation of the MSPO scheme, which started on Jan 1, 2015, is currently on a voluntary basis.
At present, the two other palm oil certifications are the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
To date, MSPO-certified areas comprising both estates and smallholders amount to 211,675ha, while MSPO-certified crude palm oil (CPO) and crude palm kernel stand at 660,700 tonnes and 118,100 tonnes, respectively.
As of December 2016, 6% of the estate planted hectarage was MSPO-certified and only 0.3% of smallholder hectarage was MSPO-certified.
Mah pointed out: “For MSPO to be successful, it requires the support from the entire supply chain of the industry.
“We must strive to ensure that the MSPO is a globally recognised standard that forms part of the internationally accepted sustainable certification platform.”
However, he warned that the mandatory certification for the century-old palm oil industry was not without its problems.
“It is going to be tough and may not be popular, but we have to do what is right.
“We have to be brave enough to go ahead with the mandatory certification. It is for the good of the palm oil industry for the next 100 years,” Mah commented.
Malaysia’s total export of palm oil and palm-based products rose by 7% to RM67.6bil last year compared with RM63.2bil in 2015.
Mah also expects an additional increase in exports of about 5%-10% this year, given the current strong CPO prices.
On the CPO outlook, Mah said his conservative estimate for the average CPO price this year is between the RM2,700 and RM2,800 per tonne range.
He added, “The current CPO price trading above RM3,000 per tonne should also hold for the coming months.”
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