Malaysia is the world’s second biggest producer of sustainable palm oil. This Southeast Asian country generates 39 percent of the world’s palm oil. Last year, the palm oil sector grew at a cumulative growth rate of 18 percent. This growth is beneficial for Malaysia’s economy, its people and its environment.
Sustainable palm oil cultivation helps Malaysia’s economy thrive
Palm oil cultivation is a significant contributor to Malaysia’s economy, providing both employment and income from exports:
- Malaysia’s workforce depends on sustainable palm oil: More than 600,000 people are directly employed by the Malaysian palm oil industry in both high-skilled and low-skilled jobs. A growing need for palm oil and an emphasis on research are adding new jobs to the Malaysian economy every year. Significant investment in developing new downstream sectors and harnessing palm oil biomass will create more than new 66,000 jobs.
- Exports of Malaysia’s sustainable palm oil is a vital income source: This healthy oil accounts for more than five percent of Malaysia’s exports, with an approximate value of US$20 billion. New initiatives are expected to increase this value significantly in future years.
Malaysia’s palm oil smallholders have a steady income, and their children a bright future
Independent farmer Ahmad Sidek has been cultivating palm oil since the 1980s, when he converted his sustainable plantation from coconut to palm. He says, “Oil palm has given me prosperity.” The reliable oil yields and long-term planting cycles have helped him secure a reliable income for his family. “If we were not allowed to plant, our lives would be very difficult because palm oil provides a lot of money.” Sidek says his four children have benefited from the income and stability. They are even pursuing university degrees, including a focus on agricultural management. He is happy with Malaysia’s new prosperity. “Today, all people are moving forward.”
Malaysian’s economic development depends on a healthy, sustainable environment
The Malaysian government and industry leaders have taken steps to ensure that palm oil continues to boosts Malaysia’s economic development. This includes adopting Good Agricultural Practices. In Malaysia, oil palm can only be planted on designated farmland. The country has also pledged to set aside at least 50 percent of its total land for forest cover.
Robin Miller is a health and nutrition editor with more than 30 years of industry experience. She researches and writes about the nutritional benefits of palm fruit oil, with the goal of giving readers factual, science-based information that will be useful in their daily lives.