Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the commodity’s performance had shown improvement despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will also intensify the marketing of palm oil to central India and new markets,” he said in reply to Teresa Kok Suh Sim’s (PH-Seputeh) question on palm oil export earnings for January-June compared to the estimated total palm oil export earnings for 2020.
As for the palm oil export value for the first half of this year, he said based on data released by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), the figure was RM21.16 billion.
This was up from RM20.06 billion for the same period last year.
With regard to overall export value of palm oil and palm-based products, Mohd Khairuddin said it was RM32.47 billion for January to June this year compared with RM31.91 billion for the same period last year.
Kok also posed a supplementary question on the impact of the freeze in foreign worker recruitment on the commodities sector, to which the minister said at a time of high unemployment following the Movement Control Order and COVID-19, the priority should be to hire locals for jobs in the plantations.
“We will strive to improve the performance and yield of the commodities, particularly palm oil, and at the same time maintain our optimism on the estimated export value,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohd Khairuddin said red palm oil would continue to be promoted to consumers considering its health benefits.