Spend more on R&D for growth, SAM tells oil palm plantation companies

Sylvia Looi
A worker collects palm oil fruit after being harvested at a plantation in Kampung Bukit Hijau, Kuala Selangor March 14, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

IPOH, Sept 12 — Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) today urged oil palm plantation companies to invest in research and development (R&D) that will result in higher yields from limited land rather than further land expansion to increase production.

SAM field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said plantation companies could even consider planting oil palm at abandoned lands instead of opening new plots of land.

“Our concern is that new plots of land are being opened as an excuse to get to the logs. It will be better if these companies plant oil palm at abandoned land instead,” he told Malay Mail.

Meor Razak was commenting on the recent statement made by Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok that the Federal government would not allow expansions of oil palm plantations and was committed to ensure over 50 per cent of Malaysia is covered by forest.

He said the minister’s statement was not something new.

“Such statements were also made by the previous administration. The problem is land matter comes under the purview of state governments. Will state government be committed to follow the Federal government’s instruction?”

Meor Razak said 13 forest reserves had been degazetted between 2008 and 2018.

Meor Razak suggested that the Primary Industries Ministry work together with Natural Resources and the Environment Ministry to ensure state governments are committed to maintain current forest reserves.

“The federal government must get the state governments to sign pledges that it will adhere to the policy,” he added,

Kok had in her keynote address during the Corporate Malaysia Summit said Putrajaya was committed to maintain at least 50 per cent of the land as forest cover, and that it won’t allow any expansion of these oil palm plantations.

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