Malaysia plans own palm oil cert scheme

This is written  by my colleague Zaidi Ismail.

SYDNEY: Malaysia plans to come up with its very own national certification scheme on the sustainable production of palm oil to tell the world that its oil palm plantations are grown in adherence to the country's environmental protection policies and do not involve the clearing of virgin forest.

Malaysia's oil palm sector currently do not have a state-sponsored certification scheme for its oil palm estates. This is because unlike, the timber sector, the oil palm sector does not have any illegal felling of trees.

However, three million out of 17 million tonnes of palm oil products produced last year are certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a voluntary business-to-business grouping.

Malaysia's oil palm sector is heavily regulated by the government-owned watchdog agency the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, which has enforced over 60 laws spanning across 16 activities along the entire palm oil chain from upstream to downstream.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the government, together with the industry, is on the drawing board on how to come up with the certification scheme.

 "This is at a premilinary stage. But we will go ahead because the RSPO keeps on changing its goalposts on how to produce sustainable palm oil. We will come up with a national certification scheme," Dompok said in a palm oil forum here over the weekend.

Dompok is leading a working visit to promote palm oil, timber and rubber in Australia until August 3. He said the government is looking at national certification because even with RSPO-certified palm oil, big users such as Unilever are still not buying in huge volume for reasons known only to them.

Malaysian Palm Oil Council chief executive Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron said the certification scheme will cover areas not covered before such as deforestation.

 "The industry is already highly monitored. We willl just tweak it a little bit and look at what the market and the NGOs (non-governmental organisations) want. It they don't want deforestation, then we will include it in the certification requirements. If they don't want orangutan to be destroyed, we will include that too."

Yusof added that the certification will emulate Indonesia, which is also coming up with its own national certification scheme.

Meanwhile, Australia-based Moi International business development manager Jim Snell said the certification is timely because RSPO is not doing a good job. Small manufacturers like us just want to buy small amounts of palm oil. Even then we can't get it. We don't know how to get RSPO-certified palm oil. Malaysia should just go ahead with the certificaton scheme and tell the world that its oil is certified unlike rapeseed, canola and soyabean oil," he said.

National Association Smallholder Malaysia secretary general Zulkifli Mohd Nazim said the national certificate will help the country's over 300,000 smallholders get certified as the RSPO is too expensive and the smallholders cannot afford it.

One Response to Malaysia plans own palm oil cert scheme

  1. If Malaysia comes up with its own certification scheme, will it be recognize worldwide? Cause palm oil are sold to other countries to (e.g: europe), which are now buying RSPO certified palm oil.
    In Malaysia, only palm oil planted on mineral soil have been RSPO certified. Palm oil planted on peat have difficulties to get RSPO certified. How will the MSPO (Malaysian Sustaianble Palm Oil)benefit those planters on Peat?
    Been thinking of this for quite some time.

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