The Borneo Post
Oil palm planting on peat soil handled well, says Uggah
KUCHING: The government handles oil palm plantations on peat soil responsibly through all means and approaches to help mitigate climate change and sustain the farmers’ economy.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the planting of oil palm on peat soil was done responsibly based on the industry practices.
“Many NGOs have said that oil palm should not be planted on peat soil, that peat soil should be left as it is to save the world from climate change.
“We hope through this congress they ( NGOs) would begin to understand how we work,” he said in response to questions from reporters at a dinner for participants of the 15th International Peat Congress here on Wednesday.
The congress general Dr Lulie Melling was also present.
In spite of numerous scientific documents and statistics on socio- economic benefits of the palm oil industry, there were still those who choose to continue to denigrate it.
“I am confident that after this congress, you will understand that all those anti- oil palm voices are mere propaganda, baseless and largely a refection of their ignorance of the actual situations in Malaysia, especially Sarawak,” Uggah said.
“Being endowed with biodiversity, we are equally committed to save this planet, while discharging our duty to bring development to our people, especially in rural communities.
Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture and Rural Economy, said the government’s development policy was guided by the three principles of people, profit and planet.
“It includes the need to balance development of peat land with conservation,” he said.
“Thanks to Dr Lulie and her team for a job well done for they have explained to the world how our crop is grown responsibly during this congress,” he added.
Uggah went on to say that many countries sending participants to the congress have showed their interest in the state’s peat soil management for the plantation industry.
He also said that there was a reduction in hot spots in the state based on a mechanism used to control peat soil fires.
“Tube wells have been implemented in Kuala Baram to mitigate peat fires by bringing up water and another approach is compaction,’ he said.