PUTRAJAYA (Oct 27): Malaysia’s agricommodity export value is projected to increase to RM204 billion this year from RM152 billion in 2020, in tandem with the rise in commodity prices in the market, said Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin.
She said as of August 2021, the export value of the agricommodity sector reached RM137.4 billion, while the palm subsector achieved a high export value of RM63.7 billion.
"Amid the trying times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s commodities have shown an increase in terms of revenue even though the local and world economy have been challenged. The focus now is on oil palm commodity," she said in a media conference after launching “Malaysia Family: Agricommodity Week 2021” here on Wednesday.
Zuraida said palm is the biggest contributor for the ministry in terms of income for the country and it had shown a good trend with prices currently hitting the highest level in history at more than RM5,000 per tonne.
A check with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) website showed that crude palm oil (CPO) price this month hovered at above the RM5,000 a tonne level.
To ensure that oil palm continues to generate good income for the country, Zuraida said some 32,000 foreign workers from Indonesia would be brought into the country, specifically to work in the oil palm plantation sector, with the first batch of workers expected to arrive in mid-November.
"The entry of foreign workers is specifically for harvesting jobs. If there were no foreign workers (working) in the estates, it would be a loss for the nation…(the) value (of loss) is estimated at around RM30 billion and it must be saved," she said.
On Tuesday (Oct 26), Zuraida was reported as saying a tight standard operating procedure (SOP) would be set by the government before Malaysia receives 32,000 foreign workers in the oil palm plantation sector.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had on Oct 22 said that the Covid-19 Pandemic Management Special Committee had approved the SOP for the entry of foreign workers.
"Currently, the SOP for workers is being streamlined and costs such as accommodation, transport, and quarantine for foreign workers will be borne fully by the employers,” said Zuraida.
In conjunction with the five-day Agricommodity Week 2021 beginning Wednesday, Zuraida launched a bus owned by the National Kenaf and Tobacco Board, wherein the components are made from kenaf fibre.
Also launched were the nutritious single-origin chocolate product by the Malaysian Cocoa Board and the virtual programme “MySawit Day” by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council and TimberReality by the Malaysian Timber Council.
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