PONTIAN, Nov 11 — About 55 per cent or 3.19 million hectares (ha) of oil palm plantations in Malaysia have received the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification as of Sept 30, said Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok.
She said the certification involves 2.71 million ha of estates and plantations as well as 475,000 ha of smallholdings and 313 palm oil mills, equivalent to 70 per cent of the nation’s total palm oil mills.
“During the same period, 139 of 162 Sustainable Palm Oil Clusters (SPOC) nationwide have been MSPO-certified, involving 16,000 independent smallholders with oil palm cultivation areas totalling 62,600 ha,” she told reporters at the MSPO briefing and dialogue session with Johor oil palm growers here, today.
Also present were Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council chief executive officer Chew Jit Seng and Malaysian Palm Oil Board Integration Research and Extension Division director Dr Ramle Moslim.
Kok said in Johor, 42 out of 43 SPOCs had received the certification, involving 3,992 independent smallholders with 9,244 ha under oil palm cultivation.
However, she noted that the number was still very low as it only accounted for 4.2 per cent of 219,000 ha of oil palm cultivation areas belonging to independent smallholders in the state.
According to Kok, the MSPO certification scheme was a strategic move to improve competitiveness and strengthen the country’s palm oil industry’s image.
“The MSPO certification will ensure that the nation’s palm oil industry becomes more sustainable and competitive while simultaneously increasing the incomes of the nation’s oil palm growers.
“As you know, the nation’s palm oil industry is facing challenges, accusations and criticisms, especially from the European Union, thus the MSPO certification is one of the nation’s efforts to protect and strengthen the industry,” she added.