Seeking industry feedback

KUALA LUMPUR: Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said his ministry will review the initiatives under the Entry Point Projects (EPPs) introduce new measures to assist the oil palm upstream and downstream sectors. 

"A lab has been scheduled from January 26 to Feb 13, this year, to review the progress and identify new EPPs and it is hoped that some new and bold initiatives will be generated from this lab," he said in his speech, read by the secretary-general Datuk Himmat Singh.

Uggah reiterated the government is committed and will intensify efforts to achieve the RM178 billion Gross National Income Contribution by 2020.

Himmat was speaking at a seminar organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) on the industry's economic outlook for 2015, here, yesterday.

Also present was MPOB chairman Datuk Ar Wan Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad. He said he is confident that the CPO market will continue to firm up due to shortfall of supply occuring from the flood situation throughout the country at this moment.

Yesterday, the third-month benchmark for crude palm oil contract on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange slid RM3 to close at RM2,309 a tonne.

Indonesian Palm Oil Association or Gabungan Pengusaha Kelapa Sawit Indonesia (GAPKI) executive director Dr Fadhil Hasan, who spoke at the seminar, noted palm oil prices should fare a little better in the range of US$700 to US$750 CIF Rotterdam as palm oil consuming countries start to re-stock.

On palm oil exports, Fadhil highlighted "black campaigns" against the palm oil industry has manifested into trade barriers and made it very challenging for traders to secure higher prices in the global market.

Industry veterans have voiced out that the negative campaigns on palm oil has one clear objective, which is to kill the growth of oil palm planting and reduce consumption in the global market.

Fadhil concurred that palm oil exporters are denied equal opportunities to trade, adding the black campaigns harm farmers’ livelihoods while traders face oppression and discrimination in market access.

Oil palm planting and palm oil exports provide developing nations a path out of poverty. The growing of oil palms, the world’s most-efficient oil crop, is helping the people of Malaysia and Indonesia to improve their standard of living. 

Indonesia and Malaysia supply affordable and nutritious cooking oil and margarine to billions of people in developing nations like China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam. 

According to Oil World trade journal, Malaysia and Indonesia are expected to export the bulk of the 62 million tonnes of palm oil traded worldwide this year. 

"Indonesia is expected to produce 32.5 million tonnes of palm oil this year. Together with Malaysia, we'll continue to supply 85 per cent of the world's palm oil," Fadhil said.

In the last five years, Malaysia earned as much as US$20 billion a year from palm oil exports. 

This year, Fadhil said Indonesia is forecast to earn around US$17 billion in palm oil exports, provided palm oil prices trade above US$700 per tonne.

Meanwhile, on the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Sime Darby Plantation chief financial officer Renaka Ramachandran said the palm oil sector is expected to remain competitive as no GST is imposed on palm oil exports. 

“Producers can also claim back GST paid on their inputs of production processes of palm oil products,” she said.