Oil Palm Planters, Smallholders Should Consider Other Crops

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KUANTAN: With palm oil prices facing pressure in international markets, the government is recommending that oil palm planters and smallholders consider other types of commercial crops with better market prospects.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim (photo) said potential commodity crops with high demand include coconuts, pineapples and bamboo.

She said the fall in palm oil prices last year had affected many smallholders and only a few large planters were able to profit from the sale of the commodity.

“A few companies have started to move away from oil palm to coconuts. The planting of coconuts can be profitable as every year, Malaysia imports a lot of coconuts to meet demand.

“Therefore, this (planting coconuts) is something worth trying, as well as other crops such as pineapples and bamboo, which are planted in Pos Lenjang, Cameron highlands, and can be used to make various goods,” she said.

The minister said this at the launching ceremony of The Valley@Bentong development project here today.

Also present at the ceremony were Bentong Member of Parliament Wong Tack, Bina Puri Holdings Bhd (Bina Puri) chairman Tan Sri Ir Wong Foon Meng and Bina Puri group managing director Tan Sri Tee Hock Seng.

Meanwhile, Kok said the Federal government, in cooperation with the state governments, had ceased opening up new areas for oil palm plantations.

“Oil palm players also have an important role to play in giving the sector a new image to re-attract global customers, especially in Europe.

“This includes intensifying replanting activities and contributing to wildlife conservation, which are two of the major issues constantly raised at the international level,” she added.