Govt targets 70% MSPO certification by February 2020

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok.

KUALA LUMPUR: Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok says Malaysia will strive to increase the percentage of palm oil areas with Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MPSO) certification.

Speaking at the International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition 2019 here, she said the government aims to achieve 70% MSPO certification for palm oil planted areas by February 2020.

In her speech earlier, she said MSPO certification for palm oil planted areas stood at 60% as of October this year.

Some 328 mills (72.6%) have also received MSPO certification.

“This is indeed a commendable achievement for a developing country like Malaysia, whereby 40% of its oil palm plantations are under the management of smallholders.

“No other country in the world has mandated its oils and fats industry to be certified 100%, especially when there are smallholders involved. Malaysia has taken the lead.”

To show Malaysia’s commitment to ensuring the certification of industry players, she added, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board had announced that legal action will be taken against oil palm growers with plantation acreage of 100 acres and above and oil palm mills that are not MSPO-certified beginning Jan 1 next year.

Such action includes the cancellation of licences, she said.

“It is important to understand that through MSPO, apart from preserving the environment, it also becomes the responsibility of employers to ensure that workers’ welfare and rights are safeguarded.

“Any violations in meeting the terms of the MSPO will result in the revocation of operational licences.”

Other measures include a 6.5 million hectare cap on the total cultivated area for oil palm, a stop to new planting of oil palm in new peatland areas, and the further strengthening of regulations regarding existing cultivation on peat.

She also spoke of a ban on the conversion of forest reserved areas for oil palm cultivation and pledged to make oil palm plantation maps available for public access.