COVID19 and Malaysian Palm Oil

by - 11/24/2020

 The year 2020 has been difficult for every one; be it individuals, families, businesses and economies. Every sector has been suffering but the travel, leisure and hospitality have been hit the worst. The edible oil industry especially the palm oil have been affected quite adversely.

I have been to Malaysia thrice in my life and have loved every moment of it. During my first time, we travelled by road to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur and saw palm trees throughout our journey. The second time, we took the airport metro from KL Airport to Putrajaya and the entire route was lined by palm trees. Then in early 2019, I came to know about the story of the palm plantations. Yes, I attended my first ever conference with the Malaysian Palm Oil Council and learned absolutely myriads of things about palm oil. Did you know that Malaysia is the second largest producer of palm oil? Well Indonesia is the largest. And that explains the hundreds of acres of palm plantations that I have seen in Malaysia.


Last week, I had the privilege of attending a webinar by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council with Dr Bhavna Shah as the speaker; country head for India/Sri Lanka for Malaysian Palm Oil. The discussion was really eye opening with respect to the effects of COVID 19 on the vegetable oil industry; especially palm oil.

Dr Bhavna Shah

For the uninitiated, palm oil is the oil derived from palm kernels and is a widely used vegetable oil and cooking medium. It is rich in carotenoids (precursor of Vitamin A) and in tocotrienols and tocopherols (components of Vitamin E). Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and is vital for healthy skin and eyes and so is Vitamin A. In fact Vitamin A is essential for immunity and is anti carcinogenic too. In fact palm oil has the highest quantities of tocopherols and tocotrienols amongst all the vegetable oils.

Palm oil is widely used as a cooking medium and is an important component of numerous items in our daily lives. It's used in chocolates in place of cocoa butter, ice creams, toothpastes, lipsticks, soaps, etc etc. It's widely used in the catering business and since palm oil has a neutral flavour, it's excellent for whipping up fancy dishes. It's rich in calories and hence great as an energy source.

Apart from all the above facts, Palm oil industry is an essential part of the economy. However Covid 19 has played an enemy in the export, packaging and transportation of Malaysian Palm oil.

The HORECA (Hotel, Restaurant, Catering) sector has suffered a huge blow owing to less number of people eating out and ordering in. Thousands of bakeries and kitchens have shut down and has a result the demands of palm oil have plummeted. As a result, imports had been reduced and the prices of crude palm oil have dropped in Indonesia and Malaysia. 

There are so many aspects to this. There has been excess of palm oil in Malaysia which is because of reduced import to India. Pakistan offered to procure the excess oil but it could not buy at the same price. The demands continue to be low in India and unless the Corona situation gets under control, the HORECA sector would continue to suffer. International crude palm oil prices have dropped by 20%. Imagine the impact of this on the Malaysian economy.


Malaysian Palm oil is a superfood. We have been using it on a daily basis in one form or another. It's an integral part of our lives and the most sustainable of all vegetable oils. Let's just hope that the pandemic situation comes under control. Let the HORECA sector flourish again because what's life without good food?

You can find more information at mpoc.org.my   Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.



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18 comments

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  2. Am about to attend the webinar this Saturday.
    Hope to know more about malaysian palm oil like u and share with the world it’s benefits.

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  3. Oh is it? I wasn't aware of it. Let me check out this palm oil. I doubt we ever used it before. Great information on this. Thanks.

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  4. I am so excited to attend webinar on Saturday and hope to get more information about palm oil.

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  5. I had not heard about malaysian Palm oil before. The webinar sounds interesting to me. Can you tell how one can join it.

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  6. This is such an eye opener. I never even knew about palm oil and its usage and impacts. Thanks for educating me on this. Awesome

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  7. thats really insightful. i have been using palm oil but its like it is not fixed so we switch to olive oil n ghee. thats great to know about palm oil usage and impacts

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  8. This webinar looks so interesting. I never heard about this Malaysian palm oil. Thanks for sharing information about this.

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  9. Pandemic has impacted many business and the revival may take a lot of efforts though.

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  10. It was very compelling to know these facts of palm oil and its usage. Im totally looking forward to join this enthralling webinar.

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  11. The pandemic has indeed had a terrible effect on many industries, and it is so unfortunate that the palm oil industry has suffered too.
    Noor Anand Chawla

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  12. Real tough for all industries this year. Hoping situations to get better in coming times. Industries now will have to keep a lot of planning on healthcare and safety

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  13. You're absolutely spot on Mandira. The pandemic is here for a long haul; the edible oil industry is going to suffer further losses because of the decreased demand I believe.

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  14. Covid situation has spared no one... each industry and business has taken a beating.

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  15. Webinar seems to be interesting .palm oil is used widely every where however interested to learn more on it

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  16. Wow this is so insightful .I had not heard about malaysian Palm oil before. Great to know

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  17. Very insightful, indeed didn't know that much about Malaysian palm oil 👍

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