BANGI: The promotion of palm oil overseas will fail if Malaysians themselves do not consume it, says Teresa Kok.
The Primary Industries Minister said that in Europe, many consumer goods such as biscuits and chocolates had labels, stating that they were free of palm oil.
In Malaysia, however, she said many consumers preferred to use canola, sunflower and soy oil imported from Europe instead of Malaysian palm oil.
"As Malaysians, if we don't appreciate local products, how are we going to export it? We want it to be sold in the United States, China and Europe.
"We Malaysians don't appreciate palm oil but it is good, nutritious and important for our economy," she said.
She said that the Ministry would be organising big-scale campaigns to promote palm oil in the future during a speech at a convocation ceremony of the Institute of Maltaysian Plantation And Commodities (Impac) here on Thursday (Dec 13).
Impac, which is under the Ministry, was established in 2010 as an integrated training centre aimed at producing knowledgeable and skilled workforce for the plantation and commodity sectors.
They include the palm oil, rubber, cocoa, tobacco, timber and pepper sectors.
Kok said that Impac was expected to train 80,000 people by 2020, with more than 63,000 trained so far until September this year.
Kok said that the commodities sector was one of the biggest contributors to the country, with exports worth RM140.1bil or 15% of the country's exports in 2017.
Out of this, RM77.8bil or 55.6% was contributed by palm oil.
From January to October this year, the commodities sector has seen exports of RM107.2bil, an 8% reduction compared to the same period last year.