KUALA PILAH : Malaysia is not affected by Belgium’s decision to ban the use of palm oil as a biofuel in the country starting next year, said Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC), Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali.
He said this is because the country’s palm oil market is still quite large and that there are many other countries importing Malaysian palm oil; noting that the government is also actively marketing the products in markets such as Africa and the Middle East.
“Recently, Afghanistan has also asked us to increase oil palm exports to the country, from the current 75,000 tonnes to up to 150,000 tonnes, so we are confident that our oil palm market is still quite large and will not be affected (by the ban).
“At the regional level, the increase is even more significant — we must remember that the Malaysian palm oil is of premium quality and different from other countries’ palm oil,” he told reporters after presenting donations to smallholders here today.
Mohd Khairuddin said last year, the total export value of oil palm to Belgium amounted to RM207 million, while the total export value to the country as of February stood at RM36 million.
On April 13, the international media reported that biofuels made from palm oil and soybean will no longer be allowed both in the Belgian market as well as in its transport sector starting next year as part of its efforts to reduce deforestation globally.
On another note, Mohd Khairuddin said the Malaysian Agricommodity Regional Office in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — which comprises the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, Malaysian Rubber Council (MRC) and the Malaysian Timber Council — is expected to commence operations next month.
He said the regional office will act as the Malaysian commodity hub to expand the country’s agri-commodity market in the Middle East which has a vast market and large operations.
“We are currently in the process of managing the office as well as the placement of officers, In shaa Allah (God willing) it will start operating in May after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri,” he said.
Earlier on, the minister had distributed a total of RM10,000 in cash donations on behalf of the MRC to 100 rubber smallholders from the B40 income group, hailing from Senaling, Juasseh, Johol, Pilah and Seri Menanti.