Independent oil palm growers get more time after only 9% certified

The government is aiming for 100% Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Certification.

PETALING JAYA: The mandatory compliance of Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Certification for independent smallholders has been extended to next year, after only 9% obtained certification.

Independent and organised smallholders had originally been required to obtain MSPO certification by Dec 31, 2019.

“To date, 91% of the independent smallholders are yet to be MSPO certified with only 9% certified nationwide covering 93,246ha,” Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC) chief executive officer Chew Jit Seng said.

The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) had previously said failure to obtain certification could result in legal action, including cancellation of licences for oil palm growers with plantations of 40ha or more, and oil palm mills.

Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council CEO Chew Jit Seng.

Chew said the board had organised the independent smallholders into sustainable palm oil clusters (SPOCs) and would assist them to be certified by 2021.

“The mandatory compliance extension is part of the government’s commitment and effort to obtain 100% MSPO certification for the oil palm industry,” he told a press conference.

The effort is resulting in a steady increase in MSPO certification uptake, he said, with almost 90% of certified organised smallholders, 70.5% of certified plantations and 75.4% of mills on board.

In November, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said Malaysia would strive to achieve an overall 70% MSPO certification by February this year.

She said Malaysia had taken the lead as no other country in the world had mandated its oils and fats industry to be certified 100%, especially when there were smallholders involved.