Smallholders selling palm oil through Palm Oil Planters Cooperative benefited better returns rather than distributing with palm fruit traders.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mah Siew Keong said the involvement of cooperatives in ensuring the production of quality fresh fruit bunches (FFB) and palm oil straight to factories provided better returns to the smallholders.
He said up to September this year, 33 Palm Oil Planters Cooperatives had been established throughout the country, namely 13 in the peninsular, Sarawak (11) and Sabah (9), with 20 having started direct integrated FFB sales to factories.
An increase of RM50 per tonne has been enjoyed by the smallholders.
“Under the 11th Malaysian Plan, the government allocated funding of RM200,000 to each cooperative to build FFB weighing stations.
“The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) is also working with Agro Bank for overdraft facilities for cooperatives for revolving capital to undertake the business of the sales and purchase of FFB,” Mah added.
He said this at the opening of the Oil Palm SmallHolders National Conference 2016 here today.
The text of his speech was read by MPOB chairman Ahmad Hamzah.
Mah said the area under oil palm cultivation had now reached 5.67 million hectares, that is, covering more than 70% of the country’s agricultural land.
“This makes oil palm the mainstay of the country’s agricultural sector.
“The area under cultivation for oil palm, 40% is managed by individual smallholders and those under the patronage of federal and state government agencies,” he added.
He said there were now 229,202 individual smallholders managing oil palm cultivation with a land area reaching 911,844 hectares or 15.9% of the total for the commodity in the country.
He said to encourage the production of value added products in the food and oleochemical sectors, the government is making available funding to those involved in the industry and for those that are palm-oil based.
The two-day biennial conference has drawn a participation of 600.