This year marks the 100th celebration of Malaysia’s first commercial oil palm planting. In 1917, French entrepreneur Henri Fauconnier first cultivated the crop for its oil at Tennamaram Estate in Selangor. This same estate will be the site of a centennial event celebrating Malaysian palm oil’s impact on society. This golden oil has played a major role in the country’s history, helping it become a progressive and prosperous nation revered by many.
Palm oil has been credited with improving Malaysian’s quality of life.
After its independence in 1957, the Malaysian government encouraged development of rubber plantations in an effort to reduce rural poverty as part of its “land for the landless, jobs for the jobless” initiative. Progress, however, was slow until these plantations were converted to highly productive oil palm. Then, rural communities flourished. The United Nations and the World Bank have acknowledged palm oil’s role in successfully reducing poverty in Malaysia.
Palm oil has transformed Malaysia into a world-renowned oil palm research center.
Scientific research has always been an integral part of the Malaysian palm oil industry. In the 1920s, the focus was on breeding. But after the establishment of the Oil Palm Genetics Laboratory consortium in 1962, research expanded to crop physiology and genetics. Over the years, research has intensified with the addition of the Malaysian Agricultural Research & Development Institute, Universiti Pertanian Malaysia, the Palm Oil Research Institute of Malaysia (PORIM) and the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB). Malaysia, the world’s second largest producer of non-GMO palm oil, is now a global center of oil palm research.
Malaysia is a leader in the production of sustainable palm oil.
In 2008, Malaysia became the first country in the world to produce and export certified sustainable palm oil when one of its palm oil companies received the inaugural Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification. Today, Malaysia accounts for 42 percent of global RSPO-certified palm oil production. This forward-thinking country is now taking sustainability and transparency to the next level with the release of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification standard. No country is better equipped to meet the rigorous demands of producers and manufacturers while caring for its precious resources. The seven basic tenets of MSPO certification address the environmental, social and economic aspects of palm oil production. It also documents the importance of balancing these aspects for the good of all involved.
This video highlights the importance of this crop to the Malaysian people.