This objective was part of Malaysia’s economic transformation programme, which aimed at achieving high income status, comparable with Western countries.
Kalanithi Nesaretnam of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) believed there was demand for significantly increased production of palm oil.
“In 2013 the demand overtook the supply. Currently there are seven billion people in the world and we believe that by 2030 there will be nine billion so there is a place for all vegetable oils to increase the production so that we can keep up with the demand.”
Nesaretnam added that innovation was vital in achieving higher efficiency and maximising new growth. Innovations proposed by MPOB included accelerated replanting through mechanisation and automation, helping smallholders replanting with better materials so that they can achieve higher yields as well as increasing fresh fruit bunch yield and increasing the extraction rate.
Responding to the criticism
"Currently, issues around palm oil production are based on false perceptions that palm oil may be deleterious to health and its production is not truly sustainable," Nesaretnam told Food Navigator.
Those issues were addressed by a number of alliances including the European Palm Oil Alliance, the French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil, the European Sustainable Palm Oil Advocacy Group and the Belgian Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil.
“No other vegetable oil can compete with palm in terms of efficiency. It is ten times more productive than soybean and seven times more productive then rapeseed. We can harvest every 15 days for 25-30 years.
“The fact that we can double our production in Malaysia without having to open up more land makes us even more sustainable,” Nesaretnam added.