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KUALA LUMPUR: The Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry and related agencies in pursuit of maintaining the steady income of about one million smallholders in the country, will continue to ensure higher revenue is generated from the country’s commodity sector this year.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, said the ministry was optimistic strategic steps, drawn up for 2017, would maintain the growth momentum of Malaysia’s oil palm, natural rubber, timber, cocoa, pepper and kenaf industries.
The ministry is targeting export growth of between 5% and 8% in 2017 while maintaining market share and exploring new markets.
“This includes via free trade negotiations with Iran and exploring market opportunities in West Asia and Southern Europe,” Mah said yesterday in his 2017 New Year message.
From January to October 2016, commodity export revenue was up 2% at RM99.2bil and contributed 15.6% to Malaysia’s total export revenue.
“This positive performance was a result of concerted efforts by all parties in rising to the challenges faced in 2016,” said Mah, adding that further investments in research and development would be undertaken as it would yield in new high-value added products.
The minister also said this measure would also improve the marketability and competitiveness of Malaysia’s commodity products in world markets.
Mah said 2017 was a special year for Malaysia as it would mark 100 years of commercial cultivation of oil palm and the sector contributed positively in raising the social economic status of the country including creating various job opportunities.
“As such, the ministry will continue to strengthen the oil palm sector in order for it to continue contributing to the nation’s coffers for another 100 years to come,” he added. – Bernama