Govt launches project to protect oil palm smallholders

Plantation Industries and Commodities deputy minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng. -filepic

PONTIAN: The government has launched a pilot project in Tanjung Piai to monitor and report oil palm fresh fruit bunch (FFB) transactions to increase transparency in the country’s palm oil industry, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng.

The Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister said the project, developed by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, was the “first of its kind” in the industry.

“The system is to help independent smallholders in keeping their maintenance and yield records consistently and accurately.

“Due to the lucrative crude palm oil prices, we have been receiving many complaints about the illegal sales of FFB, which affects the income of smallholders in the B40 category.

“With this system, we hope to boost transparency and overcome issues such as FFB theft, ” he said after launching the system in Kukup here yesterday.

Wee said at present, there was no specific system to record the yields and prices of FFB received by independent smallholders.

He said as such, the project would help gather revenue records of independent smallholders, as well as monitor sales of stolen oil palm fruit, unlicenced sales, abuse of licences, unscrupulous dealers, and other issues.

He added that the system was important for the government to gather comprehensive data for the development of the industry.

“Data on FFB yield is also an important criterion under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil certification and through this system, the traceability aspect can be implemented more smoothly.

“The system will be implemented manually for a month starting April 1 in Tanjung Piai before it is improved accordingly and moved online for the rest of the country, ” said Wee, who is also Tanjung Piai MP.

The pilot project will involve 6,045 oil palm smallholders, covering an area of 11.95ha, 33 oil palm fruit dealers, and an oil palm mill in Tanjung Piai.

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