KUALA LUMPUR: The demand for Malaysian palm oil is expected to improve this year propped up by the hot weather, pushing up the price to between RM3,800 to RM4,000 per tonne, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board said.

“We hope we could still produce around 19 million tonnes (this year) from 18 million tonnes last year because for this year, slowly we are getting the foreign labour coming in,” director-general Datuk Dr Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir told reporters after the Media Appreciation ceremony here today.

However, he said the country’s oil palm cultivation is forecast to be impacted by El Nino next year, reducing crude palm oil production by up to 10 per cent.

He said the hot weather would impact most of the oil palm cultivation area in Sabah and Sarawak.

Ahmad Parveez said the high temperature would affect the weevil that is required to do the pollination.

“Similarly, the plant itself will react to the high weather where the ratio producing male and female flower will change where they produced more male flower.. when the plant is stressed, it will produce more male flower (less yield),” he said.

He said taking an example in 2016, crude palm oil (CPO) production dropped by 20 per cent because of El Nino.

“But this time, thanks to the better planting materials and improved labour conditions, it could cushion the impact,” he said.

Meanwhile, on the Malaysia-Indonesia two-day joint mission to Brussels, beginning May 30, chairman Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha said this is the first time Malaysia and Indonesia conducting such a mission to such a huge market.

“For Malaysia, the European Union (EU) is our third largest market so we want to send a strong message that Malaysia and Indonesia, the two biggest palm oil producers in the world, have done a lot in the last 10 to 15 years in the area of environment, deforestation and we want the EU to recognise this fact.

“We have improved a lot but we have not seen them reciprocate.. the message that we want to emphasise or deliver to Brussels next week is we don’t want them to come out with any new laws that discriminate our industry,” he said.

Combined, Malaysia and Indonesia are contributing 80 per cent to the global palm oil market.

At the event, Bernama journalist also becomes one of the recipients of the MPOB award for contribution to the oil palm industry. - Bernama