Export earnings from commodity products in the first six months of this year amounted to RM63.7 billion or 14.2 per cent of the country’s total export earnings, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali.
He said the value of commodity exports increased slightly by 4.3 per cent from RM61.05 billion recorded in the same period last year.
“The increase in the value of agri-commodity exports is due to the increase in key products such as palm oil, palm-based oleochemicals and rubber gloves,” he said at the ministry’s monthly gathering, the first since the Covid-19 outbreak, in conjunction with the Excellent Service Award ceremony here, today.
He said the export value of palm products had increased by 3.2 per cent to RM33 billion compared with the first six months of last year, while exports of rubber products increased by 18.3 per cent for the January-June 2020 period with an export value of RM17.8 billion.
“Although the value of exports had increased, the export quantity of agri-commodity products declined as exports of palm oil products decreased by 12.3 per cent to 12.1 million tonnes,” he said.
Mohd Khairuddin said in the second quarter of this year, activities at the upstream and downstream levels of the agri-commodity sector contributed 7.1 per cent or RM20.6 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said the agri-commodity sector recorded a total trade value of RM82 billion in the first six months of the year, while the trade balance amounted to RM45.5 billion.
Mohd Khairuddin said during the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, the government had taken steps to support the commodity industry through the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) and Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin).
To increase exports and competitiveness of palm products, the government has granted a 100 per cent exemption on export duties on crude palm oil (CPO), crude palm kernel oil and processed palm kernel oil from July 1 to December 31 this year, and the quantum of exemption amounted to RM200 million.
To support the agri-commodity productivity through Prihatin, an additional allocation of RM20 million was approved by the Ministry of Finance on March 27 to implement smallholders agriculture input assistance under the plantation and agri-commodity sector, he said.
He added that the allocation was given to smallholders in the pepper industry totalling RM16.11 million, cocoa (RM2.69 million) and kenaf (RM1.2 million).