The National Association of Smallholders of Malaysia (NASH), in response to wrong allegations made by the USA President Barack Obama, lay down the facts of the oil palm industry in Malaysia:
FACT: Malaysia is keeping the promise made at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 to maintain at least 50% forest cover. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation, 62% of Malaysia is forest cover.
FACT: Only 15% of Malaysia's landmass is planted with oil palms.
FACT: About 40% of Malaysia's oil palm industry is worked by over 300,000 small farmers.
Palm oil is a versatile food ingredient that is 100% free of trans fats. Apart from being the ideal cooking oil for deep-fry snacks, it is also formulated into bakery fats to make cakes, confectionery, sweets, cookies and cereals.
Palm oil derivatives can also be found in household products such as soaps and detergents.
Today, more than 300,000 small farmers throughout Malaysia cultivate oil palms on agricultural-zoned land of between 4 and 40 hectares.
Together with big plantation companies, they produce more than 18 million tonnes of palm oil every year. This goes to feeding more than 3 billion people across the world.
Oil palm cultivation is key to poverty reduction in Malaysia. Farming is essentially food production and contributes to improved living standards among rural communities.
Malaysia's small farmers are a robust and diverse group of individuals. They are an integral part of the country's cultural identity and their produce contribute significantly to the economy.
Last year, Malaysia shipped out RM53 billion (or US$16.57 billion) worth of palm oil to 150 countries.