Show MPOB licence if stopped at roadblocks on way to farms, smallholders told

MIRI: Oil palm smallholders travelling to their estates should produce their Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB) licence as supporting documents if stopped for checks at roadblocks in conjunction with the movement control order (MCO).

Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman said this to allay fears among smallholders staying in town areas that they would be stopped from entering their farms and penalised for non-essential travel.

“For oil palm fruits, it is sufficient to produce MPOB licence,” he said in responding to the uncertainty expressed by smallholders when going to their farms to harvest and sell their fresh fruit bunches (FFB) to mills or collection centres.

The agriculture sector is one of the essential services that are exempted from the restriction. Transportation of agriculture produce or products including crops, fish and livestock are allowed to pass through the roadblocks mounted by the police and army.

The assistant minister, however, urged those in the agriculture sector to be responsible and support the government’s efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 through the MCO.

“Those who are given this leeway are advised not to abuse them,” he said.

The oil palm sector is considered a critical industry by the National Security Council and is allowed to operate within the disease control guidelines such as social distancing and travel restrictions.

According to Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB), there are over 28,000 native families in Sarawak who are smallholders, using 4WD vehicles as main means of transportation of FFB and farm inputs.

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