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Malaysian PM calls for ensuring palm oil supply for food makers
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14:05, July 04, 2007

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While it exploits the burgeoning market for biodiesel, the palm oil industry should ensure adequate supplies for food production, Malaysia's prime minister said on Tuesday, local media reported on Wednesday.

Although the government recognized the global demand for vegetable oil-based biodiesel, growers must remember that the country and the world also needed palm oil products as food, said Prime Minister Auk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"I would like to remind the industry that while palm oil can bea good raw material for biodiesel, we must not abandon palm oil asa food source," the New Straits Times quoted Badawi as saying.

The industry must not abandon value-adding activities in food applications even though the world was switching to vegetable oils as a cheaper alternative to fossil fuels, Badawi said.

"We need more palm oil for food and biodiesel but this can be done by improving productivity and yield and not by opening up new areas at the expense of natural forests."

Badawi, who is also finance minister, called on all Malaysians to love their forests and not plunder them for profit.

Last year, the plantations and commodities sector continued to play an important role in the national economy, contributing 5 percent of gross domestic product and 13 percent of total exports, according to Badawi.

Source: Xinhua

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