KOTA KINABALU: Sabah wants to protect its palm oil industry by ensuring the commodity is certified as sustainably produced, within the next 10 years.
Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said with such certification, Sabah’s palm oil would be deemed of premium quality in the international market.
He said this move was necessary to maintain Sabah’s place in the palm oil market following the expansion of palm oil plantations in other countries.
Sabah currently exports 12% of the world’s CPO (Crude Palm Oil) and is the third largest producer, after Indonesia and Peninsular Malaysia.
At present, some 30% of Sabah’s production comes from sustainable sources, under the gold standard of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).
The RSPO is an international grouping of buyers, producers, civil society, scientific organisations and non-governmental organisations based in Kuala Lumpur.
He said the move to get Sabah’s palm oil certified as sustainable had been entrusted to a committee headed by the state Natural Resources Secretary with the Forestry Department, serving as its temporary secretariat.
Mannan said special attention would be given to oil palm smallholders for them to get the certification.
“The productivity of smallholders is low amounting to just two tonnes per hectare per year. This hardly cover their cost of production,” he said.
“With the certification, smallholders will benefit from productivity gains and can look forward to higher income,” he said.