Article | Commodities sector plays major role in national road to recovery

AS WE are all well aware, our nation is on the road to recovery following the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, which not only claimed many lives, but also battered our economy. 

Slowly, but surely, many of us are picking up the pieces and the government, on its part, has spent billions to help the people recover. 

We need to pull in all efforts to get our economy back on track, including increasing our exports and enhancing our national GDP. 

Our commodities sector, especially rubber and palm oil, are among the largest contributors to our economy and surely play a major role in expediting the National Recovery Plan. 

As a player in the commodities sector, we were also greatly impacted during the pandemic and fortunately for us, the prices of our commodities are picking up well. Last year, we managed to reap about RM64 billion from the exports of palm oil and this year, according to the minister concerned, we are tipped to hit RM72 billion, which is a very good target. Apart from the major industry players, thousands of smallholders and their families across the country would also greatly benefit from this.

The one major obstacle many players like me face is the strong opposition we are receiving from the West which claims that our palm oil production is destroying our forests. 

Palm oil is used in almost everything these days, from food, soap, lipstick to even newspaper ink and the world uses it more than any other vegetable oil. 

Palm oil is cheap and can produce up to 10 times more oil per ha than soybeans. 

Malaysia and Indonesia together produce about 85% of the world’s palm oil and anyone in the industry can tell you that the views taken by the Western nations are grossly unfair and a mere attempt to protect alternative oils produced by the West itself. 

Over the last few months, the minister who oversees this industry, Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin, has been making numerous trade missions abroad to open new markets for our commodities. 

China is now looking to import an extra 500,000 tonnes of palm oil from us, while India is aiming for an additional two million tonnes this year. 

Such news is not only welcoming for industry players, but for the nation as a whole as it would greatly help increase the national GDP. 

The issue of deforestation constantly raised by the West is in reality nonsense. 

The palm oil industry has evolved tremendously and the existing plantations are able to produce much more yield following the use of modern technology and of course, better fertilisers. 

There is no reason for any of us to cut down trees or harm the environment for us to expand. 

We merely have to improve our technology, which also reduces reliance on manpower and use better, more effective fertilisers to enhance production. 

The minister has been very receptive to our suggestions and has played a proactive role in assisting those in the industry improve our yield. 

By opening up new markets and storage facilities, the minister is helping us not only to enhance exports, but also to provide more opportunities for Malaysians to expand their businesses to other nations. 

As an industry player, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the minister for all her efforts and encourage her to continue her hard work, especially with the pressure we are receiving from Western nations. 

At this point, as a Malaysian citizen, I don’t think it is important for us to be picking on non-essential political issues, but to focus on the greater recovery efforts ahead of us. – The Malaysian Reserve

by: Abdul Rahim Hussein

credit photo: EuroNews

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