Malaysia must be aggressive in the palm oil business in Africa

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According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), total Malaysian palm oil production is expected to increase slightly by 200,000 tonnes to 19.6 million tonnes in 2021, versus 19.4 million tonnes a year ago.

Vimal Shah, Chairman of Bidco Group and one of the speakers at the Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar 2021 emphasised on Malaysia’s soft approach in building businesses in Africa.

The Chairman highlighted Indonesia’s assertiveness in creating more palm oil business in the continent.

The supply and demand for palm oil in the country is increasing every year however, only 37 percent of Malaysian palm oil is imported to Africa. The rest are from Indonesian palm oil.

Exporters, especially the Malaysian palm oil industry, ought to be conscious about the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is a Free Trade Area (FTA) founded in 2018. 

These areas are underutilised by Malaysia and Indonesia is currently divulging in it.

He added that the growth prospects for palm oil in Africa are relevantly increasing short term and long term.

For short-term prospects, Africa has a massive landmass and a high population. These factors can contribute to higher demand in the oil’s consumption. 

Additionally, there is no negative publicity for palm oil unlike in Europe.

In the long term, Africa wants to utilise the country’s massive unused landmass.

“The country wants to feed the world but before that, they have to feed themselves. In the coming years, Africa will undoubtedly leapfrog into the technology business thus requires the commodities to jump into that sector. Population growth also factors in the usage of palm oil,” said Shah. 

Shah also urged Malaysia to duplicate and improve on methods utilised by our neighbouring country. 

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