KENINGAU July 20, 2012: Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok Dompok requested the state government to speed up the processing of land applications and the issuance of titles to the people to enable them to participate in worthwhile programmes.
“I have discussed with the Chief Minister on land application status.
“The state government fears overlapping applications and it is for that reason that the cultivation of any crop including oil palm is disallowed,” he clarified, adding that the issuance of titles would boost the effort of eradicating poverty and improving the economy of the rural poor.
Dompok said this when launching the Oil Palm Smallholders Farm Certification campaign yesterday.
According to him, oil palm products recorded an export value of RM83.4 billion last year, an increase of 34 per cent compared to RM62.2 billion for the corresponding period in 2010.
He said the revenue increase was in line with the projection made for the palm oil industry to raise the average annual income of smallholders by 47 percent from RM4,794 per hectare in 2010 to RM7,047 per hectare in 2020.
The development of the oil palm industry has contributed significantly to the economic development of the country and last year the area planted under oil palm reached five million hectares, covering 73.2 percent of the country’s agricultural land.
Sabah has the largest total oil palm area of 1.43 million hectares with the smallholder sector being the key movers of the industry, he said.
“To ensure the objectives of sustainable palm oil production are achieved, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) is organising a campaign for farm certification of oil palm for smallholders, emphasising on good agricultural practice standards, code of practice (CoP) and roundtable on sustainable palm oil (RSPO),” Dompok clarified.
The on-going campaign is aimed at providing exposure and awareness to smallholders on sustainable palm oil productions to meet consumer demand and for smallholders to participate in the certification of their plot to lead to increased productivity and income.
In this context, compliance with good agricultural practice in the cultivation of oil palm also covers the use of quality planting materials for replanting and new planting.
Smallholders are also encouraged to cut down moribund palm trees of 25 years old and above, with the government providing RM1.02 billion through MPOB from 2011 to 2013 to assist smallholders in replanting.
Dompok disclosed that assistance amounting to RM9,000 per hectare provided for that purpose would include the provision of quality seedlings, agricultural inputs and crop management in accordance with good agricultural practices to ensure high yield.
Smallholders with farms not exceeding 2.5 hectares are eligible for farm maintenance assistance at RM500 per month for two years and he urged smallholders to grab the opportunity.
Present at the ceremony were MPOB director general Datuk Dr Choo Yuen May, Bingkor assemblyman Datuk Justin Guka and board member Datuk Tan Yong Gee.
by Johan Aziz