Selangor Journal
A man unloads the fresh fruit bunches from his car boot at a palm oil fruit collection centre for smallholders in Banting, on, June 10, 2022. — Picture by REUTERS

Palm oil industry expected to benefit from Johari Ghani’s Cabinet appointment

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 — Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani’s appointment as Plantation and Commodities Minister following Tuesday’s Cabinet reshuffle is expected to improve the Malaysian agricultural industry’s governance and practices, especially towards the sustainability of the palm oil industry.

Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) director-general Datuk Dr Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir said Johari is an experienced corporate sector figure and as a former Finance Minister II, he has national administration experience.

“Among the challenges he may face are issues such as the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), labour shortages, rising costs, low smallholder yields, and slow replanting.”

Ahmad Parveez said smallholder issues need to be addressed by the new minister because they operate individually with limited capacity and need government help.

“With his experience in the corporate sector, Johari may be able to help us strengthen the smallholders so that we can achieve an optimal economic level for them,” he said.

Ahmad Parveez also said the oil palm industry is facing a labour shortage and insufficient local workers.

“Therefore, we hope his experience can help us in our efforts to use technology such as the Mechanisation and Automation Research Consortium of Oil Palm (MARCOP) which focuses on the latest technology within the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) framework.

“MARCOP is able to attract more young people to join this industry,” he said.

Ahmad Parveez also expressed hope that the new minister will hold dialogue sessions frequently with industry stakeholders.

“We hope he can maintain this culture. By involving industry players, we can sit together in an engagement process to understand the challenges faced by the industry.

“This engagement with all stakeholders will strengthen and facilitate the resolution of issues in the industry,” he said.

Ahmad Parveez also thanked the previous minister, Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, and welcomed Johari as the new minister.

“We in the industry and at MPOB are always open to working with him and will provide full support for the development of the industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Palm Oil Council chairman Datuk Carl Bek-Nielsen said he is “very positive” about the appointment.

“Johari possesses a strong background in finance and is known for his meticulousness, sharp judgment and decision-making ability. We intend to collaborate closely with him,” he said.

On the challenges, Bek-Nielsen said there is a need for initiatives aimed at reversing declining national yield trend.

“This is vital to ensure the long-term economic viability of our industry.

“At the same time, we must continue efforts to keep trade channels open and convey an important message to the world — that when it comes to quality and sustainability, Malaysian palm oil is at the top of the class and sets the gold standard,” he added.

— Bernama

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