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Governmental bodies the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and the Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation (MPOGCF) together with Earthworm Foundation, sealed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to implement a project to achieve harmonious coexistence between elephants and local communities.
KOTA TINGGI (JOHOR, Malaysia), 10 July 2023 – The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation (MPOGCF) and Earthworm Foundation exchanged a memorandum of agreement (MoA) today for the implementation of a human-elephant coexistence project with oil palm smallholders in Sungai Ara, Kota Tinggi, Johor in Malaysia.
Director-General of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Datuk Dr Ahmad Parveez Hj. Ghulam Kadir said the project aims to improve the management of human-elephant interaction with independent and organised smallholders managed by Felcra in Sungai Ara through capacity building and using physical barriers, early warning systems and effective response protocols.
With the support of funds from MPOGCF, the project will promote wildlife conservation, improve community safety and reduce crop damage.
According to Datuk Dr Ahmad Parveez, the agreement marks the beginning of the collaboration between MPOB, MPOGCF and Earthworm Foundation to empower smallholders and nearby plantation operators to ensure they can live autonomously and harmoniously with elephants.
He said MPOB always ensures that the oil palm industry does not negatively impact the environment and wildlife and that Malaysian palm oil production complies with the current laws and requirements to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
"This joint effort between MPOB, MPOGCF and Earthworm Foundation is believed to provide benefits that can be enjoyed by all parties involved," added Datuk Dr. Ahmad Parveez.
General Manager of MPOGCF, Zamakhshari Muhamad, said that the project in Sungai Ara is MPOGCF's second involvement in Peninsular Malaysia after the Living Together program with TDM Plantation in Terengganu, aiming to reduce human-elephant conflict.
"MPOGCF's involvement is to further improve the livelihoods of smallholders who have been affected by the ongoing human-elephant conflict for a long time," said Zamakhshari.
MPOGCF is committed to any initiative involving the conservation of the environment and wildlife, especially those related to the Malaysian oil palm industry. MPOGCF is also a Strategic Partner for National Asian Elephant Conservation in Peninsular Malaysia at the national level.
Meanwhile, the Regional Director of Asia of Earthworm Foundation, Quek Karl Yen, said managing human-wildlife interactions requires a holistic and integrated approach involving various local stakeholders.
“Our goal in this project is to build capacity and foster closer collaboration between plantations, smallholders and local authorities to work together to proactively develop and adapt local solutions to manage human-elephant interactions over time.
Moving forward, we hope to use learnings from this project to inspire other smallholders in Johor to take active steps to manage the escalating cases of human-elephant interactions in their respective villages and farms," Quek said.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) is an agency under the Ministry of Plantations and Commodities (KPK) entrusted to serve the country’s oil palm industry. Its main role is to promote and develop national objectives, policies and priorities for the well-being of the Malaysian oil palm industry. As the custodian of one of the country’s main strategic growth sectors, MPOB emphasises world-class research, development and services throughout the entire palm oil value chain to maximise economic development and environmental protection synergies.
For more information, visit the www.mpob.gov.my
Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation (MPOGCF) is an initiative mooted by the Ministry of Plantation and Commodities (MPIC) to support conservation initiatives related to the oil palm industry. It reflects its commitment towards conserving the environment. The projects already funded by MPOGCF include the 1-Million Tree Planting Programme, the setting up of the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary (BES), the establishment of Sabah’s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) and the Malayan Tiger Conservation Programme. With all the various environmental and conservation efforts carried out by MPOGCF, it is hoped that it will enhance the oil palm industry's reputation to achieve global recognition in sustainability practices.
MPOGCF is continuously monitoring critical areas related to green conservation within the oil palm industry for short, middle and long-term protecting, managing and conserving our natural heritage. Our commitment is to show the world that the Malaysian palm oil industry is environmentally-responsible. The funding provided showcases the industry's commitment to conserving biodiversity and promoting a green landscape.
To learn more about MPOGCF, please visit www.mpogcf.org
About Earthworm Foundation
Earthworm Foundation is an impact-driven non-profit that works on the ground to create conditions for nature and people to thrive. Partnering with businesses, civil society and governments, it focuses on implementing responsible sourcing commitments in value chains, innovating practical solutions to the social and environmental challenges of production practices, and catalysing industry-wide chain reactions to help achieve transformation at scale. Its supply chain, social and environmental experts work across 5 continents to improve conditions for people, forests, and soils impacted by cocoa production, packaging, palm oil, rubber, and more.
Find out more at www.earthworm.org