She said the industry needs to tackle the interlinked sustainability challenges, particularly relating to environmental, climate change and social issues.
“In order to do that, it will require leadership and I urge the Malaysian government, which has enormous muscle power, to get into this in a big way as it did when it chose palm oil (to be one of the income generators to the economy),” she said during the International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference 2020 (IPOSC 2020) virtual question and answer (Q&A) session today.
Among the challenges she highlighted is the European Union’s (EU) decision to phase out palm oil in transport fuels from 2030, the reduction in biodiversity and the threat of extinction of rare species.
Tsakok, who was one of the panellists during the two-hour Q&A session, noted that the industry should find solutions to increase fresh fruit bunches (FFB) production, despite the climate change that lowers the FFB and other agricultural yields, and address the alleged labour rights violation and land grabs from indigenous communities.
The crop, she noted, has been driving agricultural transformation, inclusive growth and poverty reduction in the country, and it is the most efficient way of satisfying the growing global demand for vegetable oil as it uses one-tenth of the land of its rival crops.
However, its very success makes it controversial, she said.
“Palm oil is new to me as I am from Mauritius and we grow coconut there… so it is fascinating to me to see how powerful palm oil is to Malaysia and how it has helped to eradicate poverty.
“However, as someone who is observing the industry from the outside, I also see that palm oil has ‘two faces’. On one hand, there are many wonderful things that you are doing, and you have, but on the other hand, there are a lot of ugly things too,” she said.
She noted that notable issues include the empowerment of the B40 group in the industry — namely the smallholders, issues of indigenous land, labour rights and deforestation.
Tsakok, who holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard University and a World Bank retiree, noted that despite the challenges, the industry can do better as palm oil is a versatile oil which has a lot to offer to the world.
Meanwhile, another panellist, IOI Corporation Bhd’s Head of Sustainability Dr Surina Ismail said that working with the Government is one of the best ways to manage the challenges faced by the industry.
“All along the supply chain, everybody must play their part in the upstream or the downstream sector.
“We must help and encourage the growers, especially the smallholders, to produce sustainably and get the recognition from big companies locally and abroad,” she said.
Meanwhile, commenting on the Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO), Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil strategic stakeholder relations director Salahudin Yaacob said the certification is necessary for big and small players, allowing them to enter more markets.
“Currently, CSPO’s production is low. The Government, consumers and industry stakeholders need to work together to increase awareness on the CSPO.
“We need to enforce the requirement to make sustainable palm oil renowned and this can be achieved by producing only CSPO,” he said.
Two EU representatives, Frans Claassen and Paivi Makkonen said there should be more constructive dialogues between palm oil-producing countries and the EU Government.
They also stressed that having good governance to promote a healthy supply chain in the industry is crucial, as well as ensuring that no human rights are violated.
Closing the discussion, Sime Darby Plantation sustainability head Rashyid Redza Anwarudin said there are still a lot of work that needs to be done to improve the industry.
“We need to ensure the work we do is as inclusive. We have to remember that it’s an important industry in this part of the world. It has contributed in a major way to the social economy and development of the region.
“It has, more importantly, touched the everyday lives of the people,” he said.
The IPOSC 2020 is the Malaysian Palm Oil Council’s biannual conference that highlights the sustainability challenges and opportunities in the Malaysian palm oil industry.
This year’s conference is being hosted on a virtual platform, comprising two modules, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Module 1 today featured presentations from sustainability experts from the agriculture, research and palm oil sectors who shared their views on the efforts by global agricultural commodities towards achieving sustainability and carbon neutrality.
Module 2, on renewable energy, climate change and food security will take place from Oct 12-20, 2020.
Source : The Edge Markets
Credit: Workers sort bunches of harvested oil palm fruit at the Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd. palm oil plant in Besout, Perak.
Photographer: Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg
KUALA LUMPUR: The local palm oil sector is poised to begin its recovery in the second half (2H) of 2020 following the easing of Covid-19 lockdowns globally.
This would, in turn, improve global demand from major consumers particularly China and India, said Boustead Plantations Bhd chief executive officer Ibrahim Abdul Majid.
The upstream oil palm plantation company predicted that stockpiles will dwindle in anticipation of better demand for edible oil in the global food supply chain.
“For the short-term, the sector is expected to remain impacted, we continue to adopt a longer-term view given the nature of our industry,” Ibrahim told the New Straits Times.
He is also optimistic for the year ahead given the crude palm oil (CPO) export tax exemption aimed at managing Malaysia’s stock level, which has to a certain extent lifted prices.
Ibrahim said Indian buyers had resumed purchasing Malaysian palm oil after a four-month gap following a diplomatic row, with buying spurred by a fall in domestic inventories and discounted prices.
“Even though the short-term prospects for the plantation sector are weak given the current environment, we are optimistic that prospects will improve as the world sees a gradual recovery,” he added.
Ibrahim said Malaysia Palm Oil Council’s (MPOC) had forecast CPO prices to hit a peak of RM2,594 per tonne in 2H, and this would improve Boustead Plantations’ bottom line.
“We expect to see enhanced fresh fruit bunches (FFB) production in 2020, due to the full-year consolidation of production from Tawai estates.
“At the same time, harvesters’ productivity which is addressed via our Transformation Programme is also expected to have a positive impact on FFB production,” he said.
Ibrahim said the company expected its average CPO price for 2020 to be in the range of RM2,400 to RM2,500, benefitting from the palm oil export tax exemption from July until December this year under the National Economic Recovery Plan and significant recovery in global palm oil demand from May.
“Demand is expected to be a key factor in determining prospects for CPO in 2020 and 2021.”
He added that the lingering effects of the Covid-19 crisis were likely to curtail disposable income particularly in relation to food in developing countries.
This, in turn, may curb the prospective uptrend in world consumption of oils and fats.
“We expect the large demand losses stemming from the lockdowns in the first-half of 2020 to be recouped by next year.
“Overall, this forecast is based on the assumption that the Covid-19 pandemic comes under reasonable control soon.”
Ibrahim, however, said if the pandemic did not come under control, this would put another round of downward pressure on all major commodities
Credit: NST By Ayisy Yusof – July 27, 2020 @ 8:22am
KOTA KINABALU: Palm oil groups today urged the Sabah government to consider allowing firms to resume operations for essential procedures such as harvesting, crop evacuation, and milling despite the nationwide movement control order (MCO) which has mostly shut down activity in the country.
In a joint statement, the Malaysian Palm Oil Association and Malaysian Estate Owners Association said there would be social impacts from the closure of operations in the state.
“The industry strongly feels that we can better contain the spread by continuing operations rather than curbing them,” they said.
hey said closing operations only highlights “the operational nightmare” in addition to the potential revenue loss of about RM860 million for a month’s closure in Sabah.
“The loss in 7.5% sales tax revenue to the government amounting to about RM57 million could actually be used to support the fight to contain COVID-19,” they added.
Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal recently announced the closure in phases of palm oil operations in the districts of Tawau, Lahad Datu, and Kinabatangan.
He said this would begin with oil palm plantations before being extended to mills as well.
The three districts account for 65% of the total planted area of 1.2 million hectares and 75% of production in Sabah involving some 100,000 workers.
The groups said these workers would be left idle and confined to their quarters for long hours due to social distancing.
They said the workers might also leave to look for jobs elsewhere or attempt to return to their home countries, which would pose a threat to the MCO objective of containing the spread of COVID-19.
They also said the industry had committed to supporting the government in its battle against the virus by introducing and adhering to guidelines and SOPs at all estates and mills, including a so-called voluntary lockdown.
**Credit: FMT News
**Credit to featured image: freemalaysiatoday.com
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THE oil palm industry has played an important role in the economy.
The planted area expanded from 55,000ha in 1960 to 5.849 million hectares last year.
In tandem with the area expansion, the production of palm oil also grew from less than 100,000 tonnes in 1960 to 19.516 million tonnes last year.
This expansion, especially in the 1960’s, was encouraged by the diversification strategy of the government, which recognised palm oil as a complementary crop to rubber.
The oil palm industry contributes 4.67 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and 46.6 per cent to the agricultural GDP.
Total exports of palm oil products were 23.97 million tonnes in 2017 with an export revenue of RM77.85 billion.
Palm oil export earnings stood at RM46.12 billion.
The global market is expected to grow with the world’s population and income, increasing biofuels production, accelerating economic growth, especially in developing economies, and growing applications.
Despite these achievements, palm oil continues to receive criticism for alleged links to deforestation, climate change, health effects and market restrictions in terms of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.
This has led to lower demand for palm oil-based products and export market access.
Added to these challenges is agricultural commodity price volatility and instability.
Price volatility is almost an inherent feature of commodity production due partly to inelastic supply and demand.
Crude palm oil (CPO) prices dropped to three-year lows in November and December last year amid high stock levels in Southeast Asia and weak demand.
Stocks were reported at a record high of three million tonnes. Exports dropped by 12.9 per cent month on month to 1.38 million tonnes as buyers — such as China, the European Union, Pakistan and the Philippines — bought fewer Malaysian palm oil products.
Last year, the average CPO price was RM2,267 per tonne against RM2,817 a tonne in 2017.
Other than fundamental factors of supply, demand, and stocks, palm oil prices are also affected by the price movements of soya bean oil, which competes for a share of the global vegetable oil market, and influenced by crude oil because the edible oil is also used as feedstock to make biodiesel.
The prices rebounded in January and last month to RM2,037 and RM2,100.50, respectively, compared with November and December prices of RM1,830 and RM1,794.50, respectively.
The general opinion is that the prices of crude palm oil and other oils depend on the outlook for palm stocks.
It is predicted that stocks will fall till mid-year, in line with seasonal production trends, which will lift the crude palm oil prices, especially if Indonesia maintains its heightened pace of biodiesel use.
Crude palm oil prices are expected to rise to between RM2,200 and RM2,300 per tonne by June on a seasonal decline in stocks.
Prices will also increase as India, one of the largest importers of Malaysian palm oil at 2.514 million tonnes last year, reduced import duties on crude palm oil from some countries, including Malaysia and Indonesia, to 40 per cent from 44 per cent and on other palm oil to 45 per cent from 54 per cent.
For this year, though supply of CPO will remain ample due to steady production growth in Indonesia, consumption will grow by a strong five per cent year on year, at the fastest rate recorded since 2013.
With low stock levels and firmer soya bean oil and crude oil prices, CPO prices are forecast to be higher this year than last year with at an average price of RM2,300 per tonne.
– March 17, 2019 @ 10:58pm
2019 appears to be starting in the right direction for the Malaysian oil palm industry. In recent years, the Malaysian palm oil industry has faced rising challenges of restrictions in export and worldwide demand. The leading issue would of course be the European Union’s growing anti-palm oil sentiment, driven by allegations of deforestation and the industry being environmentally unfriendly.
Although Malaysia and other oil palm producing nations have stepped up their efforts to dismiss these allegations, the EU seems poised to limit and eventually phase out palm oil, especially in vehicles and machinery. As such, palm oil sales have to be focused elsewhere.
China: One of the Largest Palm Oil Market
China has been purchasing palm oil from Malaysia for a long time. With the EU market under threat, Malaysia has managed to convince China to increase their purchases. In part, China’s increasing demand of oil palm is due to a drop of soybean oil demand and the need for more vegetable cooking oils.
In addition to just cooking, palm oil in China will be used in other industries such as the chocolate making industry, food processing industry, pharmaceuticals, soaps and more. Currently, China is the second largest importer of palm oil after India.
China buys 50% more Palm Oil in 2019
On March 4th, 2019, Malaysian Minister of Primary Industries, Theresa Kok witnessed the signing of purchase intent documents involving three Chinese companies which will buy products from four Malaysian companies.
These purchases amounted to USD 891 million or about RM 3.5 billion. The following is a breakdown of the purchase deals, which total up to about 1.62 billion tons of palm oil:
- Yantai Tianmao Edible Ltd to purchase 100,000 tons of RBD palm stearin from Sime Darby Plantation
- Yihai Kerry (Shanghai) International Trade Co. to purchase 1.3 million tons of RBD palm olein from PGEO Marketing Sdn
- Yizheng Fangshun Industry Ltd to purchase 120,000 tons of RBD palm stearin from Cacao Paramount Sdn, unit of Teck Guan Group
- Yizheng Fangshun to purchase 100,000 tons of RBD palm olein from SOP Edible Oils
More Room To Grow
At the signing of the purchase intents during the Malaysia-China Palm Oil Business Forum, China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian mentioned that there is still room for more purchases. He stated that China has not placed a ceiling on the amount of palm oil and palm oil products that China can import.
Among the new fields that China is looking into developing is biofuels and this of course calls for and increased supply of palm oils in the country. In total, China’s import of palm oil in Malaysia is set to grow about 50% year on year in 2019, as compared to the year before.
In addition to boosting exports of palm oil to China, Malaysia is also taking steps to cap the amount of land opened for oil palm growth, as an important step to allay fears in the EU about deforestation.
The increased demand for palm oil and declining reserves are serving to gradually increase and stabilize oil palm prices for 2019, which is good news for small holders in Malaysia. If you’re a smallholder, this is the time to work hard and make hay while the sun shines.