MPOB takes tougher stance on oil palm seed scams

THE Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) is proposing a heavier fine of RM2 million for criminals who deceive planters into buying and planting low yielding oil palm seedlings.

Currently, those found guilty are only fined up to RM250,000 or jailed up to three years, or both. "There is a need for heavier sentencing as the current penalty does not reflect the severity of the crime," said MPOB deputy director general Dr Salmiah Ahmad.

MPOB is now taking a more serious stance on oil palm seed scams as it is found to be one of the main causes for the country's average yield stagnating at four tonnes per hectare a year for the last 20 years.

Many smallholders have been duped but they cannot be blamed because it is difficult to differentiate a genuine crossbred seedling of dura and psifera (DXP) strains from fake ones.

These fake seeds will only yield five to 10 tonnes of fresh fruit bun-ches a year compared with DXP seeds, which will yield 25 tonnes.

Cross breeding DXP seeds takes time and they are sold for RM2 per seed. Malaysia's strategy to remain the most productive oil palm producer in the world is mainly buoyed by the government policy of using DXP seeds, tissue cultured and clonal palms.

Yesterday, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok launched the Malaysian Oil Palm Nurseries Association (Mopna) in Bangi, Selangor. He advised smallholders to be more discerning. "We must remember that whatever we plant will remain in the ground for the next 20 to 25 years. It is therefore absolutely essential that we get it right the first time, ensuring that only superior planting materials reach the fields," he said.

Under the national replanting strategy to reduce palm oil supply in the immediate months and boost supply in the longer term, RM200 million has been allocated to encourage the replanting of 200,000ha. MPOB has, so far, approved of 160,000ha for replanting this year.

Earlier this year, the Finance Ministry allocated RM50 million more to MPOB to supply seedlings and fertilisers to independent smallholders who do not get support from other government agencies like Felda, Felcra or Risda. It works out to be RM6,000 per hectare spread over three years.

Mopna president Azhari Wasi Mohd Jamli said half of its 60 members already received MPOB's oil palm nursery certificate of competency.

One Response to MPOB takes tougher stance on oil palm seed scams

  1. Palm oil outsider 27 July 2009 at 16:49

    Has any culprit been ever caught for selling fake
    palm oil seedlings and if yes, how many have been fined the RM250,000 penalty and possibly jailed tems?? Sorry for the ignorance as we have not seen any in the news paper nor have we heard of any yet. Please enlighten with the numbers.
    If enforcement is not effective enough, the authority should look into ways how to improved
    the enforcement aspects of these crimes.
    Merely proposing the increase in fines from RM250,000 to RM2 million will not have any impact
    if the enforcement procudures are not effective in the first place!

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