Monday, September 19, 2011

Pemandu allocated RM1 bln for oil palm smallholders

SIBU:The Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) in the Prime Minister's Department has allocated RM1 billion to help oil palm smallholders nationwide, to do new planting and replanting.

The amount, to be managed by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), will be for a period of three years, beginning this year.

Director of MPOB Integration, Research and Extension Division, Idris Omar said this to reporters during a visit to two smallholders in the Sarikei
Division near here on Monday, Sept 19.

He said the government was committed to developing smallholdings in a more organised and professional manner as part of its programme to eradicate poverty among rural folks.

Idris said for this year, some 23,090 hectares nationwide had been approved of which 14,9088 hectares were for new planting and 8,182 hectares for

"The target set is 26,000 hectares. Sarawak which has still plenty of ideal land, has the most applications," he said.

He added with organised oil palm smallholding being a new development for the state, some 3,280 people with 10,558 hectares altogether have applied to MPOB to do new planting.

"We have approved 3,002 applications involving an area of 9,797 hectares. We also have given out some 1,174 seedlings to the first group of 667 farmers," he said.

Idris said the MPOB aid would also include free fertilisers and professional advice and monitoring.

On the RM1 billion allocation, he said so far RM37.5 million had been spent on developing 3,256 hectares nationwide.

"This include RM14.7 million for providing seedlings and another RM22.8 million for land preparation," he said.

Meanwhile he also said in Sarawak, MPOB would also look into applications from Native Customary Right (NCR) land owners who wish to develop such land themselves.

"Provided such land is free from problems like overlapping ownership claims, we are prepared to come in. They can get the application forms from their nearest MPOB office. Then they should contact their respective Member of Parliament for endorsement of their applications," he said.

He also advised farmers to get only MPOB and SIRIM certified seedlings, proven for their quality.

He said nationwide there were almost 500 nursery operators but only 270 were active producers of such certified seedlings while 74 had acquired the national OPNCC (Oil Palm Nursery Certificate Competency) benchmark. Idris said Sarawak too had seven OPNCC certified producers. - Bernama

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