KUALA LUMPUR: The Primary Industries Ministry will be presenting a proposal to the Cabinet this month to cap the maximum area for oil palm plantations at about 6.5 million hectares (ha), up from the 5.85 million ha as at end-2018.
Minister Teresa Kok said this was expected to be achieved by 2023 based on the average annual expansion of plantations from 2013 to 2018.
“This move was made in order to dismiss accusations that oil palm plantations are the reason for deforestation.
“But, in order to achieve this, we have to work with various state governments,” she said when officiating the 30th annual Palm and Lauric Oils Conference and Exhibition, Price Outlook 2019 Conference and Exhibition (POC 2019), here yesterday.
Kok said palm oil players should also improve the research and development of seedlings, as well as boosting the productivity and yields of existing oil palm trees.
Kok said the ministry would also propose to the Cabinet to compel information on the areas under oil palm plantations to be made public.
“We need to be transparent. We hope the cabinet will approve the proposal,” she said.
Meanwhile, Kok said the government’s effort this year to expand the B10 and B7 bio-diesel programmes to the transport and industrial sectors was expected to raise palm oil consumption by 761,000 tonnes annually.
“This will help reduce the huge stockpile and lift the commodity prices,” she added. — Bernama