Friday 02 Jun 2023
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 8): The Ministry of Plantation and Commodities will apply for additional allocations under Budget 2023 to boost the revenue of the agricommodity sector, and to counter negative perceptions towards the sector.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said he would bring this matter to the attention of the Ministry of Finance for discussion.

Fadillah, who is also the plantation and commodities minister, said additional allocations should be based on the country’s export income contribution from the agricommodity sector, which was high as compared to the approved allocation.

The measure would allow the ministry to focus on restructuring the smallholder development programme through active involvement of major industry players in the sector, especially in production and product marketing activities.

“This includes managing challenges such as disease as well as negative campaigns against the agricommodity sector, which require larger allocations.

“Perhaps, in the budget review later, we will get additional allocations to deal with the challenges faced,” he said during the winding-up of the policy-level debate of the Supply Bill 2023 in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (March 8).

Moving forward, Fadillah said his ministry would also focus on enhancing the effectiveness of agency collaborations in driving the production and income of smallholders, as well as ensuring sufficient supply for the timber sector through the rubber replanting programme.

“In addition, the ministry will promote the application of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to enhance the effectiveness and competitiveness of the agricommodity sector,” he said.

Fadillah also said the government had provided an average of RM670 million in financial allocations for the sector under the 12th Malaysia Plan from 2021-2023 to implement various initiatives and programmes to ensure that the sector remains competitive.

He said potential new sectors could be developed to generate new sources of growth and income for the country, such as in the field of biomass, including fibres, which is expected to draw investments of up to RM10 billion by 2025.

Meanwhile, he said the ministry would also explore opportunities for the sector to be involved in carbon trading activities in an effort to create new growth opportunities, including kenaf as a source of construction materials.

Additionally, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board is in the process of developing a system for mapping oil palm-planted areas throughout Malaysia, which is expected to be completed before the end of 2024.

“Until December 2022, oil palm-planted areas in Malaysia totalled 5.67 million hectares (ha), compared with the limit of 6.5 million ha, in line with the National Agricommodity Policy,” the minister added.

The policy is part of the government’s efforts to drive the development of the agricommodity sector in a more sustainable, competitive and market-oriented manner.

For more Parliament stories, click here.

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