Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said the target was set in 2017 in light of the Amsterdam Declaration that requires all palm oil imported into Europe to be certified as sustainable by 2020.
“I don’t intend to change (the target) because we need to ride on the momentum and we are working very hard now,” she told reporters after a dialogue with palm oil stakeholders here Wednesday (July 3).
She urged all oil palm growers, particularly the owners of mid-size plantations ranging from 40.5ha to 405ha, to speed up the process of obtaining MSPO certification in order to meet the goal.
As of May 31, only 36% of the total 5.85 million hectares of oil palm planted areas in Malaysia has been certified.
Kok said the main problem faced by the ministry was the mid-sized plantations whose owners could not be traced.
“Some of them do not manage the plantations themselves but leave it to contractors.
“We have a problem looking for these owners. This group of people has let us down in failing to achieve a higher percentage of certification,” she said.
With MSPO certification to become mandatory by Dec 31 this year, Kok said plantations that failed to be certified would face obstacles in selling their oil.
“Their oil will not be used for export at all and will be considered as second-class oil, and maybe they can only sell it at a much lower price,” she said.
Kok also said the ministry was reaching out to China and Japan as new markets for Malaysian palm oil.
She said the Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Green Food Development Centre on May 27 on the recognition of the MSPO certification.
“For Japan, MSPO-certified products and oil will be accepted by the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year,” she said.
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