4 JULY 2023


Salutation for Keynote Address MPOF 2023


His Excellency Ruzaimi Mohamad,

Malaysian High Commissioner in Kenya


Mr. Abdul Hadi Bin Omar,

Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Plantation and Commodities, Malaysia


Datuk Dr. Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir,

Director General of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board


Ms. Belvinder Sron,

Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council


Excellencies and Members of Diplomatic Corp


Representatives of the Palm Oil Industries from both African Region and Malaysia

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

  1. Good morning and welcome to the Malaysian Palm Oil Forum East Africa 2023. Let me begin by recording my heartfelt appreciation to the Republic of Kenya for giving Malaysia the opportunity to hold this forum here in Nairobi today.
  1. I am delighted to be able to join all of you here and I would also like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to all our esteemed guests,as well as industry players from both Kenya and Malaysia, members of the media, and all the participants attending the Malaysian Palm Oil Forum East Africa 2023.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. Our two countries have established a friendly and cordial business relationship, which is reflected in the increasing bilateral trade over the years. Kenya is an important trade partner for Malaysia, and in 2022, the total trade between our nations reached USD 1.19 billion, a notable increase of USD 280 million compared to the previous year. In sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya holds a key position as Malaysia's 4th largest trading partner in Africa. This makes the Malaysian Palm Oil Forum East Africa 2023 an excellent platform to establish and explore further opportunities, not only in Kenya but also in the broader East Africa region.
  1. The Malaysian Palm Oil Forum aims to provide a valuable platform for those in the oils and fats business to meet, collaborate, and establish trade partnerships. This event aims to bring together various stakeholders in the palm oil industry, fostering networking opportunities and enriching participants with the latest knowledge and developments in this important sector. Today's event acknowledges the importance of Kenya as a trade partner and a significant user of Malaysian palm oil.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. The chosen theme for this forum, "Pioneering Sustainable Solutions for A Better Tomorrow," reflects our aspirations to continuously maintain our steadfast position with regard to sustainability. It aligns with the current global scenario and emphasizes the Malaysia-Kenya bilateral relationship, showcasing Malaysia’s role in providing affordable products to Africa while adhering to sustainability requirements for a better future.
  1. The Republic of Kenya holds immense significance for the Malaysian palm oil industry, as demonstrated by its emergence as the 5th largest destination for Malaysian palm oil exports, with a volume exceeding 763,000 tonnes in 2022. This particular Malaysian Palm Oil Forum East Africa 2023 underscores Kenya’s crucial contribution in our industry and provides an opportunity for the business communities, particularly from Malaysia, to strengthen existing partnerships and explore new potentials for cooperation, with a strong emphasis on sustainability as a core element of Malaysian Palm Oil.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. In 2022, Malaysian palm oil and palm product exports were valued at USD 29.7 billion, making it the highest-valued agricultural commodity exported. Additionally, the palm oil industry in Malaysia provides direct employment to over 450,000 smallholders. Apart from being an edible commodity, palm oil is also used in non-edible sectors such as oleochemical industries and renewable energy.
  1. The Malaysian palm oil industry holds a dominant position as Malaysia's largest agribusiness commodity sector. It proudly stands as the world's second-largest producer of palm oil, contributing to 23% of global supply in 2022. Our industry thrives due to robust institutional backing coupled with a comprehensive presence across the entire value chain. Malaysian plantation companies have successfully expanded their operations both upstream and downstream, expanding beyond our shores into international markets.
  1. However, alongside the vast opportunities it offers, the palm oil industry also encounters several challenges. Market access remains a persistent obstacle, with protectionist policies and at times higher tariff rates. There is also the negative anti-palm oil campaigns and legislation that unjustly targets or victimizes palm oil. As such, these hurdles require diligent attention and strategic planning to overcome, towards ensuring a fair and level playing field for our industry.
  1. To demonstrate Malaysia's commitment to sustainability, I am delighted to inform you that Malaysia is one of the palm oil-producing countries in the world with its own sustainability certification standard, known as the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO). The MSPO standard has been developed under national and international rules for standard setting. It reflects a unified code for best practices throughout the supply chain, from oil palm planting to palm oil processing.
  1. This certification standard has been made mandatory since 1st January 2020 with the objective to ensure Malaysian industries produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) in line with the requirements of international consumers.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

  1. Palm oil plays an important role in enhancing global food security through its significant contributions to the food industry. There are a few important facts that I wish to highlight about this. Firstly, the oil palm is highly productive, occupying only 7.9% of the total land area devoted to all crops, yet it produces palm oil which constitutes 32% of major seed oil production. This high productivity enables a consistent and abundant supply of edible oil, which is crucial for meeting the growing global demand for cooking oil and food products.
  1. Secondly, palm oil is a versatile product and used in the production of baked goods, snacks, margarine, spreads, and processed foods. The affordability and availability of palm oil contribute to ensuring food accessibility for people across different socioeconomic backgrounds, especially in regions where alternative oil sources may be difficult to access or expensive.
  1. Finally, palm oil's long shelf life and stability make it a valuable ingredient in food preservation. Its resistance to oxidation helps extend the shelf life of food products, reducing food waste and ensuring a more sustainable food supply chain. This characteristic is particularly significant in regions with inadequate storage and transportation infrastructure, where the preservation of perishable food items can be challenging.
  1. Recognizing the importance of sustainable palm oil production practices, it is essential to promote responsible cultivation methods and ensure the protection of biodiversity and local communities. By addressing environmental and social concerns, palm oil can continue to contribute positively to meeting the world's food security needs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. I believe there are huge opportunities for the private sector in our two countries to redefine business approaches, form partnerships, and strategic alliances to explore new avenues for expanding the edible oil and palm oil business. Thus, this Malaysian Palm Oil Forum East Africa 2023 serves as a reminder for us to explore new areas of cooperation and rejuvenate our business linkages, ensuring the continuous progress of bilateral trade between Malaysia and the Republic of Kenya.
  1. There are numerous untapped opportunities in downstream higher value-added palm derivatives, including oleochemicals, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, specialty products, and consumer brands. I urge all participants to leverage on this event to interact and explore potential joint investments that will contribute to the growth and success of their businesses.
  1. Before I conclude, I would also like to extend my appreciation to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, Malaysian High Commission in Kenya, and the organizers for their efforts in organizing the Malaysian Palm Oil Forum East Africa 2023. I applaud all participants for taking the time to be part of this Forum and I wish all of you here every success in your deliberations.
  1. With that, it is with great pleasure that I declare the Malaysian Palm Oil Forum 2023 East Africa officially open.

Thank You