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KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 -- Difficulty in approaching independent smallholders and land title issues are the two biggest challenges currently faced by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), being one of the regulatory bodies to get the remaining oil palm plantations certified under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO).
MPOB director-general Dr Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir said there are 259,000 smallholders in the sector in Malaysia, and out of this number, around 40 per cent of their estates have been certified while the remaining 60 per cent are yet to be certified.
“So, we need to basically approach especially the smallholders because they are small and scattered, independent and not directly link to us. So, it’s our responsibility to make sure we find all of them.
“We are doing a lot of promotion, trying to get hold of them, meet, register and eventually have them in our sustainable palm oil cluster, then later get them to be certified,” he said during a panel discussion at the MSPO-IPOS (Indian Palm Oil Sustainability Framework) Sustainable Palm Oil in India webinar today.
He said the issue with the smallholders is the difficulty to reach them as they are scattered over the country and not basically handling or managing their plantation themselves or might reside in different places.
“Other than that, some of the smallholders are of average age of around 59-60 years old. This is quite elderly and for them to be complying with the MSPO,” he said.
On the land title, he said under the MSPO certification, the land must be utilised for oil palm and it became an issue when the smallholders switched from one crop to another previously.
“Nevertheless, I think for us this (MSPO certification) is very important, so we will do our best to make sure everybody will come on board and have all the smallholders being certified with MSPO,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Parveez said overall, about 87.17 per cent of Malaysian oil palm planted areas are certified currently.
The MSPO certification became mandatory starting Jan 1, 2020, in line with the government's announcement on Feb 24, 2017, aiming at enhancing the image of the country's palm oil in terms of sustainability while fulfilling the demand for certified palm oil in global markets.