News | Increased revenue from high palm oil demands a boost to post-Covid recovery, says minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The increased revenue from the growing demands for palm oil will greatly help the country’s recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, said the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities.

Its minister, Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said in a statement that the government would take this opportunity to increase the country’s share of palm oil in the global edible oil market following the escalating prices of crude palm oil (CPO).

Zuraida said she had recently met numerous players in the agri-commodity industry over the rising prices, including those from other countries, such as Egypt, India and Bangladesh.

“This is part of the MPIC’s preparations in the face of uncertainties arising from the current geopolitical situation in the world,” she said.

She pointed out that CPO prices topped RM8,000 a tonne for the first time on Tuesday amid a shortfall in sunflower oil caused by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Research indicated that panic buying by consumers to cover the temporary shortfall in edible oil supplies from Ukraine is likely to continue until the situation improves.

Ukraine is the world’s largest producer and exporter of sunflower oil with a market share of 47 per cent of global exports, while Russia’s share in the global exports stands at 29.9 per cent. These two countries accounted for 60 per cent of the global sunflower oil production in 2020 and 2021.

Sunflower oil is the world’s third-most traded vegetable oil, after palm and soybean oil.

“MPIC along with the relevant agencies will continue to guarantee the future of smallholders and all Malaysian palm oil industry players,” said Zuraida.

She also reminded local players to take advantage of the income from the “good times” to upgrade their workers’ living quarters and other facilities for the future.

“As for the smallholders, I urge them to enhance their management and take this opportunity to focus on their savings,” she added.

On the supply of government-subsidised cooking oil to meet local demands, Zuraida assured the public that there was adequate supply and no cause for concern.

“We anticipated the rising cost locally and elsewhere. We understand there are concerns, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, particularly among the B40 group.

“But rest assured there is sufficient supply to meet the needs of everyone in the country. This is the government’s commitment to all Malaysians in line with the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia,” she added. – NST

by: V Shankar Ganesh

credit photo: Bloomberg

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