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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Wee: Desperate Oil Palm Smallholders Selling Fruit Below Market Price To Feed Their Families

(The Star) – There are oil palm smallholders who sell their fruits RM30 to RM40 cheaper per tonne for instant cash in order to feed their families, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The Ayer Hitam MP said they had to do that or wait until the end of the month to get money.
The MCA president said the smallholders’ financial situation was compounded by the falling price of the fruit in recent months.
The low demand for palm oil also saw some mills temporarily suspending the purchase of the fruit.
He described the current low price and demand for palm oil as a “prolonged crisis”.
The price of the oil palm fruit has been fluctuating, plunging to below RM300 a tonne several times over the past six months, against an all-time high of about RM750 a tonne in the past.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Dr Wee said he posted two questions in Parliament last week to the Primary Industries Minister over the issue.
He asked if there were suggestions made to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on ways to promote palm oil during his official visit to China in April.
China is the world’s second largest importer of palm oil.
On the world market, Dr Wee asked how Malaysia can compete with Indonesia, which produces about 40 million tonnes of palm oil a year and offers prices which are more attractive than that of Malaysia, which produces 20 million tonnes.
Dr Wee also expressed concern over what would happen if Indonesia continued to expand its market with its attractive pricing.
He said the government must understand the situation of the people in general and smallholders in particular when seeking ways to resolve the palm oil “crisis”.
There are 650,000 oil palm smallholders in Malaysia.
The low demand for palm oil has triggered a slowdown in other related economic activities in the country.
Dr Wee said telling the people to consume more palm oil and related products was not enough.
There must be immediate and long-term strategies to expand the market for palm oil, he said.

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