Many oil palm smallholders in Sabah have denied allegations that palm oil mills in the state do not want to buy their oil palm fruits because of the drop in the price of the commodity.
Check by Bernama found that the palm oil mills are still buying the oil palm fruits from the smallholders.
An owner of an oil palm plantation in Kampung Tanjung Piasau, Sandakan, Borhan Yaakob, 57, said it was only yesterday that he sold oil palm fruits from his plantation to a buyer at Batu 12.
He said the price of the oil palm fruit if sold to wholesalers was RM300 per tonne, while the price sold direct to the mills was RM371 per tonne.
He said he had never heard of any complaints from other oil palm plantation owners in Sandakan having problems selling their harvest.
In Beaufort, an oil palm smallholder, Ghafor Jisri, 60, said the oil palm factories and private buyers still accept their oil palm fruit, though the price was low, for RM185 per tonne, if sold to wholesalers and RM220 per tonne at the factory.
He said the drop in the price affected the income of smallholders and hoped that the government would take necessary measures to address the problem.
In Tawau, oil palm factory owner Lo Su Fui denied the news that palm oil mills in Sabah did not want to buy palm oil fruits from smallholders following the drop in the price of the commodity.
“There is no problem in the east coast of Sabah, maybe in the interiors of west Sabah, but not because of the price drop,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
He said the factor of surplus oil stock and no storage place were among reasons the oil palm mills in the western hinterland of Sabah reduced their purchase from the smallholders.
“The millers want to buy oil palm from smallholders, but the problem of supply surplus and limited storage cause this to happen (the factory reducing purchase of oil palm),” he said.
Meanwhile, Sahabat region Felda Settlement head General Linjal said it was time for the government to intervene by providing measures to stabilise the oil palm price to help the smallholders.
“I hope this is temporary because as a Felda settler, I also feel the impact, but worse will be the smallholders outside Felda because the Felda settlers still rely on the Felda system. ― Bernama