JOHOR BARU: The palm oil industry's gross national income (GNI) target of RM178 billion by 2020 can still be met despite fears of a recession in the US.
Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said the impact from a possible US recession will be minimal on Malaysia's palm oil exports due to the commodity's steady prices and consistency in export figures.
"We are targeting RM178 billion in palm oil GNI in 2020, and we will achieve this. Until then, it will not be bad," Hamzah said when commenting on the impact of US recession fears on Malaysia's palm oil sector.
Speaking to reporters after the opening of the 31st Palm Oil Familiarisation Programme here yesterday, Hamzah said the current economic situation would not only affect the export of palm oil, but also rubber, cocoa and other commodities.
"It is not only the US economy that is affected, but other countries as well. It will cause the export earnings (of palm oil) this year to be slightly affected.
"We have to understand that we are a trading nation, so when the world is facing a slump, our country would also be affected," he said.
Also present at the familiarisation programme jointly organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme was MPOB chairman Datuk Seri Shahrir Samad.
Earlier in his speech, Hamzah said palm oil is the fourth largest component of the national economy and accounted for RM62.88 billion of GNI in 2010.
He said last year, palm oil exports were worth RM113 billion, while the target for this year is RM121 billion.
"We would be thankful if this year's export target is met."
Hamzah said the sector could count on the strong price of palm oil, which was RM3,000 per tonne in 2010, and consistent export figures to cushion the effects of a possible worldwide recession.
He said palm oil export earnings for this year may be affected, given the current exchange rate.
"However, we are lucky because in terms of volume, exports are not affected."