Posted on : 07-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business
KUALA LUMPUR: The government is providing a grant of RM50 million to assist the commodity industry in addressing food safety concerns, including reducing the level of containment in palm oil.
Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong in this context, gave an assurance that palm oil and its derivatives are indeed safe for consumption as a food item.
“In conjunction with the 100 years of commercial oil palm planting in Malaysia, the government will continue to priortise towards enhancing the quality and safety of Malaysian palm oil products for consumption.
“We have not decided on how companies would receive the grant. But, it is open now to all factories and refineries working together to do research and further increase the quality of palm oil,” he told reporters after officiating the Global Palm and Lauric Oils Conference yesterday.
Malaysia, being a major producer and exporter of palm oil will continue to take measures to address the food safety aspects of palm oil. To further promote the image of the oil palm industry, Mah said Malaysia would embark on the mandatory certification of certified and sustainable palm oil under the framework of Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil.
“This scheme which was implemented on a voluntary basis beginning 2015 will be made mandatory in stages starting from Dec 31, 2018,” he added.
In another development, Mah, in referring to North Korea, said the industry was not worried about Malaysia’s exports of palm oil and rubber to the country.
Forty per cent of Malaysia’s total exports to North Korea comprises palm oil and rubber.
Palm oil exports to North Korea last year was only worth RM3 million and rubber at RM1.2 million. Bilateral trade between the two countries last year stood at RM10.7 million.
On the outlook for palm oil, Mah expects exports to reach RM70 billion this year from RM67 billion in 2016 and crude palm oil price to average between RM2,700 and RM2,800 per tonne this year.
“We are maintaining our earlier forecast that the CPO will average between RM2,700 per tonne and RM2,800 per tonne in 2017.
“This is on anticipation of higher prices, driven by various government efforts and initiatives, including venturing into various other markets, especially India and Iran,” said Mah.