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Malaysia produces 32pc world’s palm oil
Published on: Saturday, August 26, 2023
By: Bernama
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Malaysia produces 32pc world’s palm oil
MALAYSIA accounts for 32 per cent of the palm oil produced globally and earned RM137.89 billion from its palm oil exports last year. - pix Bernama
MALAYSIA accounts for 32 per cent of the palm oil produced globally and earned RM137.89 billion from its palm oil exports last year.

The oil palm industry has always been linked to deforestation and dwindling wildlife habitats. In view of this, “the MSPO and RSPO certifications play a crucial role in addressing deforestation in the palm oil supply chain, protecting wildlife populations, conserving forest resources and ecosystem services, and positioning the (oil palm plantation) organisation as progressive and responsible,” said WWF-Malaysia Sustainable Agriculture Senior Manager Max Donysius.

“RSPO certification is beneficial for oil palm growers as it improves their management practices, enabling them to produce better quality fresh fruit bunches and increase their yields and gain access to (global) markets,” he said.

RSPO Smallholder Programme manager Nur Nazifah Ahmad Rosland said to become RSPO certified, organisations are required to demonstrate compliance with the applicable RSPO standards.

She said RSPO currently has three certification standards, namely 2018 RSPO Principles and Criteria, 2019 RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard and 2020 RSPO Supply Chain Certification Standard.

“There are systems in place to ensure that RSPO-certified members abide by the standards, which include third-party certification, a system of accreditation for certification bodies, an open and transparent grievance mechanism, supply chain certification to end-users, and traceability provided via the PalmTrace system,” she told Bernama in an email interview.

“Our certification levels remain one of the strictest across other voluntary agriculture sustainability standards and are subject to review every five years to ensure that they remain relevant.” 

 Nur Nazifah also said that in order to get more smallholder groups to obtain RSPO certification, RSPO has engaged with key palm oil stakeholders, as well as local government authorities, to promote a Jurisdictional Approach (JA) to RSPO certification.

“The JA involves the certification of palm oil production at the jurisdictional level, which uses a particular model of jurisdictional landscape development,” she said.

(JA is an important way to increase certification among smallholders while improving their livelihoods and conserving important forest areas for biodiversity and environmental protection).

She said there is a need to support more smallholders, whose smallholdings comprise about 40 per cent of the total oil palm planted area in Malaysia, to embrace good agricultural practices and produce sustainable palm oil.

“Certification also helps them to gain access to new markets. However, smallholders cannot be certified individually but need to be organised in groups led by a manager to ensure compliance of all group members with the growers’ standards,” she said.

Nur Nazifah also said RSPO has increasingly focused on mechanisms to support smallholders through a variety of approaches such as the RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard which aims to circumvent the barriers through a phased approach towards compliance, and the RSPO Smallholder Support Fund which allocates 10 percent of the income generated by the trade of certified sustainable palm oil to help smallholders around the world to get RSPO certification without incurring any cost.

“The RSPO Smallholder Engagement Platform is also available to connect smallholders with potential project partners as well as provide additional financial and non-financial resources and support to smallholders around the world,” she added. 

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