PUTRAJAYA – The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has warned oil palm growers that they face a fine and run the risk of losing their licences to sell fresh fruit if they fail to obtain the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification by Jan 1.
The board’s director-general, Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir, said at a media briefing yesterday that the current deadline, extended from June 30, was final.
The threat of a fine also applies to millers.
Parveen said MPOB would issue show-cause letters and hold hearing sessions before taking action.
He foresees the board forgiving a few growers, saying most of them would probably be smallholders with limited resources.
“Those with more than 100 acres, as well as millers, should have no reason for not complying,” he said.
There are about 2.5 million independent smallholders in the country, and Parveen said less than 10% had been certified.
These smallholders are spread out across the country and their licences to sell are valid for five years.
Parveen said some might have renewed their licences fairly recently and MPOB would have to locate them to push them to get certified.
Complicating matters, he said, was that independent smallholders had no standard system of running their plantations, unlike big firms and organised smallholders, such as those affiliated with Felda or Felcra.
About 80% of organised smallholders are already MSPO-certified.
Parveez said the government was committed to supporting smallholders and had allocated RM130 million for this year alone to provide them training and equipment to help them achieve compliance.
He also said MPOB would, at the hearing sessions, give consideration to those showing they were working towards compliance and would allow them time to achieve it.
He said the board might impose compound fines on those refusing to comply and would refuse to renew their licences if they were to persist in their refusal.