KLUANG, April 25  — The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) through the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) is in the midst of producing a new variety of oil palm tree that will grow up to 20ft only to facilitate crop harvesting.

Its Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng said although trees from the new variety will be shorter than the existing breed which could reach 40 to 50 ft, the quality of the fruit and oil produced are still the same.

“Based on the record, most of the smallholders are senior citizens. It is hoped that the new variety with shorter oil palm trees will make it easier for them to harvest on their own.

“MPOB is also conducting a study to produce more palm oil for the new variety,” he told a press conference after the Johor State-level Let’s Go for Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) programme in Simpang Renggam, here today.

Meanwhile, Wee said, to date, 87 per cent of oil palm plantation owners have the MSPO certificate, while only about 39 per cent of private smallholders have the certificate.

He said the certificate is very important to ensure that products produced by oil palm plantations, smallholders and palm oil processing plants are sustainable and acceptable in the global market.

“Most of owners of large and organised plantations such as the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra) have the MSPO certificate…the problem now is the smallholders.

“As such for this year, we will organise an awareness campaign to encourage more oil palm smallholders to have MSPO certificate as we also plan to make it mandatory for them to hold the certificate,” he said.


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