Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Malaysia Committed To Ensure Palm Oil Supply For Food Sector, Says Chin

September 15, 2008 16:02 PM

Malaysia Committed To Ensure Palm Oil Supply For Food Sector, Says Chin

From Tengku Noor Shamsiah From Tengku Noor Shamsiah Tengku Abdullah LONDON, Sept 15 (Bernama) --

Malaysia will continue giving priority to the food sector while complementing the supply of raw materials for biofuel, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said Monday.

He said this commitment was reflected in the agreement between Malaysia and Indonesia, the world's top palm oil producers, to each cap six million tonnes of crude palm oil for biofuel production every year.

"In addition, in line with the Kyoto Protocol, Malaysia takes the lead in Clean Development projects in South East Asia, especially in the plam oil sector," he said in his keynote address at the World Sustainable Palm Oil Conference.Chin noted that over the past few years, the oil palm industry has been confronted with issues concerning the environment, in particular deforestation, loss of biodiversity and threat to wildlife.Concerns on carbon emission from development of peatland raised recently exacerbated the situation, he said.

Together, these issues project a wrong image of the industry to consumers around the world."While our industry is committed to supplying the world with quality palm oil, we are also committed to keeping our forests intact," he said.

He said forests in Malaysia have been managed sustainably through the implementation of Sustainable Forest Management policies.Under these policies, forests in Malaysia are classified into different classes such as Permanent Reserved Forests (12.19 million ha), Totally Protected Forests (3.11 million ha), National Parks, Wildlife & Bird Sanctuaries and Nature Reserves (2.44 million ha) and State land/Alienated Forests (0.57 million ha) which are also known as "conversion forests" as they have been earmarked for development.

In total, he said, more than half (about 59 percent) of Malaysias total land area is currently under forest cover.Malaysia also maintains its water catchment areas, ox-bow lakes and high-conservation value forests and where necessary, provide a wildlife corridor within the plantations to enable wild animals to pass through the plantations.

In addition, Malaysia's National Parks, Wildlife and Bird Sanctuaries and Nature Reserves area have been increased from 1.87 million hectares in 2000 to 2.44 million hectares now due to reclassification of these forest areas.

He said the Malaysian Government and the palm oil industry launched the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife and Conservation Fund in April aimed at enhancing conservation efforts on wildlife and biodiversity through scientific studies.The fund, with an initial capital of €3.9 million or 2.9 million (RM20 million), is expected to benefit all palm oil stakeholders worldwide."Currently, five projects have been approved for funding," he added.

The conference is jointly hosted by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI), Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).Present were Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Datuk Abdul Aziz Mohammed, Indonesia's Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono, Member of Parliament for Stone, UK, William Nigel Paul Cash, MPOC chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron, MPOC chairman Datuk Seri Lee Oi Hian and MPOB chairman Datuk Sabri Ahmad.