oil palm


Ministry optimistic cocoa industry can hit RM6b export target

SERDANG: The Primary Industries Ministry is optimistic that the cocoa industry would achieve the target of RM6 billion export value by 2020 as outlined in the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP).

As of 2018, the nation’s cocoa exports have hit RM5.55 billion.

Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Tan Yew Chong said the 4.6% rise in the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 from 2017 is a positive sign that the target is achievable.

He said cocoa has good potential with the right business model as well as commercialisation and downstream activities.

“The cocoa sector contributed RM5.55 billion to the nation’s export revenue in 2018, accounting for RM1.44 billion or 0.1% of GDP.

“The amount is a 4.6% increase from RM1.38 billion the previous year,” he said at a media conference after launching ‘Innovation to Market’ (I2M), the Malaysian Cocoa Board’s (LKM) commercialisation of research findings programme at the UPM-MTDC Technology Centre here today.

The four-day programme is the first in a series of seven planned over the next six months on technology transfer and commercialisation for LKM researchers.

Also present was Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) chief executive officer Datuk Norhalim Yunus.

Tan said amid the cocoa industry’s very encouraging performance, cocoa has great potential for the export market.

However, he said, cooperation is still needed with the relevant agencies for research and development (R&D) as well as commercialisation in order to make it globally competitive.

“We cannot focus only on the local market, we also have to penetrate global markets.

“The export value of chocolate rose to RM1 billion last year. So besides oil palm cultivation, we can probably return to cultivating cocoa, which also gives a good income,” he noted.

Meanwhile, he said between 20 to 30 technologies and products will be commercialised for the cocoa industry.

“LKM has so far conducted 89 research projects since the 8th Malaysia Plan, with total allocation amounting to RM54.4 million.

“A total of 19 LKM products and technologies have been commercialised, and the agency has identified 63 R&D products such as cosmetics, self-care and food products with commercial potential,” he said.

Meanwhile, Norhalim said Malaysia’s cocoa products have also penetrated international markets such as Morocco.

“With the cooperation of researchers and entrepreneurs, we are exploring new markets especially in Asean and Oceania.

“We have the products, and we are confident the technology has reached the required level. What is important now is cooperation with entrepreneurs to commercialise and market the products,” he said.

The programme was attended by 26 LKM staff including research officers and marketing officers.

Sultan Nazrin: New technologies crucial for oil palm sector

KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — The application of new technological advances and other innovations associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which offer a tremendous potential to boost productivity, is significantly lagging in the oil palm…

MPOB: Malaysian palm stocks at end-June fall to 11-month low

KUALA LUMPUR: Palm oil inventories in Malaysia fell to their lowest in 11 months at the end of June, the fourth month of declines, as imports and production outpaced exports, according to industry regulator data on Wednesday.

Benchmark palm oil prices fell 8% in the first half of 2019 because of high stockpiles and slow demand earlier. Falling stockpiles could support prices, which were last up 0.3% at RM1,948 ($470.53) a tonne at the midday break.

End-stocks in June fell 0.97% to 2.42 million tonnes from May, data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) showed. That is the lowest since July 2018.

A Reuters survey forecast palm oil’s stockpiles at the end of June to fall 4% to 2.35 million tonnes.

The MPOB data also showed that output also fell to 1.52 million tonnes, down 9.2% from May, and also the lowest since July last year. That brings Malaysia’s production for the first half of the year to 9.79 million tonnes. This compares with output of 8.9 million tonnes in the first-half of 2018.

For 2019, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board forecasts output of 20 million tonnes. Malaysia’s June palm imports were 101,250 tonnes, versus a Reuters forecast of 61,951 tonnes.

“The higher-than-expected stock levels is due to imports. Indonesia’s palm oil has been cheaper compared with BMD (Bursa Malaysia Derivatives), so probably more refiners were bringing that in,” said a Kuala Lumpur based trader, adding that the decline in production was in line with expectations.

A Reuters poll had forecast June output to fall due to worker shortages during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations, which was in early June this year. Plantation workers in Malaysia typically go on long leave then, lowering productivity and output at oil palm estates.

Meanwhile, exports in June fell for the first time in four months, down 19.35% from the previous month to 1.38 million tonnes, its lowest since February.

Traders told Reuters that exports had fallen due to slower buying in major markets like India.

“This is partly the stronger ringgit factor, but mainly stockpiles of vegetable oils in India are sufficient for now,” said a trader.

Palm oil futures are priced in Malaysian ringgit. A stronger ringgit usually makes the edible oil more expensive for foreign buyers. The ringgit appreciated 1.4% against the dollar in June.

In an earlier survey, June palm output was forecast to drop 8% to 1.54 million tonnes, while exports were expected to decline 19% to 1.39 million tonnes.

Moody’s affirms Sime Darby Plantation’s Baa1 ratings, outlook stable

SINGAPORE, July 3 — Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) has affirmed the Baa1 issuer rating of Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) with a stable outlook. The outlook is maintained at stable, reflecting Moody’s expectation that SDP would…

Sime Darby Plantation raises the bar on sustainability

PETALING JAYA: Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) aims to achieve a sustainable supply chain with the publication of a new policy statement, “Working with Suppliers to Draw the Line on Deforestation”.

The policy builds on the group’s existing practice and maps a step forward for the group to meet the “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” (NDPE) standards and for its suppliers to adhere to the same standards.

“The rapid rate of deforestation is an urgent challenge for the world that demands a meaningful response. As the leading producer of sustainable palm oil, SDP shares this concern. This policy was crafted to ensure that our suppliers provide us and others with deforestation-free palm oil, and at the same time improve their NDPE operational standards too,” said its group managing director, Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha.

Based on the policy, if a supplier is found to be in violation of SDP’s NDPE standards, the supplier would have to immediately cease work on the land (when non-compliance is confirmed).

The supplier must also develop two types of plan namely, a time-bound plan for the restoration of cleared land and a time-bound plan to upgrade their operational practice. Suppliers who are unwilling to meet those conditions will be suspended.

The development and execution of landscape restoration plans as well as operational improvement plans will be externally verified and monitored on an ongoing basis.

Helmy said the ultimate goal is to expand the sphere of oil palm companies operating to NDPE standards. Therefore, if a non-compliant supplier commits to meet SDP’s conditions, the company will re-engage with them and support their progress.

He added that SDP does not believe in suspension without a path for the supplier to be reinstated.

“Constructive re-engagement to introduce new and improved practices is critical to systematically resolving non-compliance to NDPE. Simply suspending suppliers can have the unintended consequence of driving poor practice elsewhere into the system, making it less visible and harder to act on.

“This is not the intention of our policy. Our priority is to find solutions to the issues and we believe this must be done via engagement with the suppliers and giving them the opportunity to redress the problem,” he said.

Helmy said SDP is committed to working with suppliers in the development of their plans, and with NGO partners to build capacity for operational improvements to raise suppliers’ NDPE compliance.

The policy comes after the launch of Crosscheck, SDP’s new open-access online tool that allows traceability of its palm oil supply chain down to the mill level.

Crosscheck enables users to view a map showing all the mills that supply each of SDP’s refineries and information on who owns these mills.

Amid FGV director pay controversy, palm oil price hit by worst quarterly fall on record

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — The price of palm oil has now fallen for the longest period since tracking began, with the commodity grappling with both a continuing oversupply and weak global demand. According to Bloomberg, palm oil benchmark futures in…

Sime Darby Plantation sells Indonesian land for RM123.1m

PETALING JAYA: Sime Darby Plantation Bhd has disposed of its entire stake in PT Mitra Austral Sejahtera (PT MAS) to PT Inti Nusa Sejahtera (PT INS) for US$29.7 million (RM123.1 million).

PT MAS is principally engaged in the cultivation of oil palm and processing of crude palm oil and palm kernel. It has about 7,074.04 hectares of land planted with oil palm in Kabupaten Sanggau, Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.

The group told Bursa Malaysia that its indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries PT Ladangrumpun Suburabadi (PT LSI) and PT Teguh Sempurna (PT TSA) had on June 25 disposed of their respective 99.9993% and 0.0007% equity interest in PT MAS.

Following the disposal, PT MAS has ceased to be an indirect subsidiary company of Sime Darby Plantation.

At the midday break, the stock declined 3 sen or 0.6% to RM4.86 on 569,200 shares done.

FGV says to remain high-performing company even without Felda land

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — FGV Holdings Bhd will remain on track to become a high performing company even if the other shareholders agree to return the land managed under the Land Lease Agreement (LLA) with parent company, Federal Land Development…

FGV to make strategic shift to become a major downstream player

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — FGV Holdings Bhd said although oil palm would continue to play an important role in the company’s future, it is now studying closely the tremendous potential of the downstream cluster, which has more room for growth. “I…

CPO price to trend higher in second half of this year, says Maybank IB

KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 ― The crude palm oil (CPO) price is likely to trend higher in the second half of 2019 (2H19) as the weak price for the first quarter was dragged down by the huge brought forward stockpile, says Maybank Investment Bank. The…