New oil palm breed, new opportunity for smallholders

Change of phase: Wee (left) visiting the registration booth of the ‘Jom MSPO’ (Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil) programme held at a community hall in Simpang Renggam, Johor.

SIMPANG RENGGAM: A new breed of oil palm is expected to be introduced by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) that will make it easier for smallholders to grow and harvest the produce.

Primary Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng said the trees of the new breed were shorter but would produce the same amount of harvest as current variants being planted by smallholders.

“MPOB has been conducting research from time to time to improve the quality of oil palm.

“If we are successful, we may be able to produce an oil palm plant that is shorter and this will make it easier for smallholders, especially those who are older, to manage the plant themselves, ” he said when met after attending a dialogue session with smallholders during the “Jom MSPO” (Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil) programme at a community hall here yesterday.

Wee added that the new breed could be made available to smallholders through the Sustainable Oil Palm Growers Cooperative following further research and study.

“We will need the plants from the new breed to reach maturity

first before making any final decision as we need to look at whether it is suitable for smallholders, ” he said.

Wee also said that about 88% of oil palm plantations nationwide were MSPO-certified.

“However, only about 39% of plantations owned by smallholders have received the MSPO certification.

“We have been providing mobile counters as well as intensifying our information campaign to reach out to smallholders and help them register for the MSPO.

“We hope that smallholders who have yet to register will come forward and complete the registration for their own benefit, ” he said.

He added that compounds might be issued to those who fail to get their MSPO certificate by July, while those who have yet to do so by next year could have their licence revoked.

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