KUALA LUMPUR: Crude palm oil (CPO) prices, which are now above RM2,700 per tonne, are expected to remain high for the year, says Deputy Primary Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng.
“The daily price for CPO recorded for July 23 this year had risen further to RM2,793 per tonne.
“The ministry expects prices to further strengthen for the year, ” he said in reply to a question from Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim (GPS-Batang Lupar) in Dewan Rakyat on Monday. (Aug 24).
He noted the average monthly price of CPO was RM4,111.50 per tonne in June this year, compared to RM1,968 for the same period last year.
“A rise in exports has brought about a positive impact on the movement of CPO prices in the country, ” he added.
Wee also said a rise in CPO prices had resulted in higher prices for fresh fruit bunches (FFB) for small holders.
“The daily price guide issued by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) based on area and grade is between RM415 and RM508 as of June this year compared to between RM333 and RM397 in June last year.
“This has resulted in a rise in income for smallholders in the county, ” he added.
On a separate issue raised by Datuk Johari Abdul (PH-Sungai Petani), Wee said the government had set up a special committee to address the shortages of foreign workers in the commodities industry, particular in the oil palm plantation sector.
“There are about 500,000 foreign workers in the commodities industry, of which 77% are in the plantation sector, ” he added.
The committee, made up of representatives from several ministries and stakeholders, will be able to get accurate data on the shortage of workers to allow replacements to be made, he added.
Among the measures, Wee said, was to allow employers, who are unable to retain their foreign workers, to transfer them to areas where there are shortages.
On shortages of foreign workers in other sectors, he said the Malaysian Rubber Council has set up a RM36mil fund for a wage subsidy programme to hire about 10,000 locals in the