PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Government has agreed to allocate RM130mil as an incentive for oil palm smallholders so that they can obtain Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification for free.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, said in view of the mandatory implementation of the MSPO by end-2019, the incentive would ease their financial burden by providing for the certification’s auditing fees.
“We plan to carry out the audit on 650,000 smallholders in batches, and it would involve close to two million hectares (ha) of oil palm plantation,” he told reporters on the MSPO in Putrajaya on Friday.
For now, he said, only 4% of about 244,622ha of plantations, including 7,113ha owned by smallholders and 22 mills, had voluntarily obtained the certification since it was introduced in January 2015.
“The certification is quite costly, and we don’t want to see that it could only be obtained by plantations owned by corporations, as it would leave the smallholders feeling left out,” he said.
Mah said the incentive would involve 40% from the total of 5.7 million ha of oil palm plantation in Malaysia.
“By giving the incentive, the ministry is targeting that about 500,000ha of oil palm plantation will be MSPO-certified by year-end, and the number will continue to increase next year.
“The ministry will be conducting roadshows to brief the smallholders on the importance of the certification, especially in ensuring the sustainability of the local oil palm industry in the future,” he said.
Through the MSPO certification scheme, he said, the palm oil products would be able to obtain premium prices in the international market, in line with demands from European countries which only allowed for palm oil imports with accredited certification.
“The MSPO is more suitable for the country compared to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certification process and the cost of its implementation is much lower.
“Although the MSPO certificate has not been recognised by any country at the moment, we hope that with its mandatory implementation by end-2019 will show that MSPO is a certificate which has been established according to the law and that domestic regulations also have good sustainability practices.
“We are confident the MSPO will be well-received by the local industry players, and the ministry will promote this certification aggressively overseas to ensure that it is accepted in the international market,” he said.
Mah said the details on the incentives and the application procedures would be available on the Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s website soon. - Bernama