Kota Kinabalu 18/12/2012: Sabah Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) Youth on Monday appealed to the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities to step in and help smallholders and kampong folks affected by the low Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) prices.
Sabah MIC Youth Chief, Taren Sunil Manoharan when urging Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the smallholders and villagers who have invested in oil palm not only face low FFB prices but are also unable to sell their produce.
"Although the prevailing market price of FFB is about RM390 per tonne, the fact on the ground is that none of the smallholders and villagers is getting anywhere near that figure.
"Instead they are getting between RM300 and RM320 per tonne. And that is if there are buyers at all,"
The mills, he said, have also become very selective on the quality of the FFB that are offered to them.
He said the mills have set a higher than usual standard for the quality of the fruits, resulting in many sellers being unable to sell their produce.
He said if nothing is done about the situation, the smallholders and villagers will soon be facing dire financial consequences.
"They will not even be able to break even, not to mention make a profit.
In short they will be facing big losses," he said.
Manoharan said the situation would not only affect the smallholders but also their dependants and all those involved in the activities of the business such as fertiliser suppliers.
To this, he pleaded with the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry to come up with proposals so as to alleviate the situation.
"This matter needs urgent attention," he said.
He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had on Sunday in Sandakan reiterated that the BN Government cares for the well-being of the people.
"I therefore urge Dompok and his Ministry to intervene and come up with an equitable solution to help this sector especially the people in their time of need," he said.
Manoharan said he is raising the matter up because smallholders and villagers have approached him and Sabah MIC Youth members to help them highlight the issue.
"As part of the BN Government we cannot just keep quiet," he said.
"The price of FFB needs to be stabilised including a mechanism to be implemented so as to ensure fair sale and purchase of the product.
"I am confident that the experienced people at the Ministry can come up with a win-win solution to stop the downward price spiral of this important economic commodity," he said.