CAPITALIZING ON GOVERNMENT REGULATION TO ENHANCE MALAYSIAN PALM EXPORTS VIA EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT FOOD RATIONING SCHEME
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by Muhammad Kharibi Zainal Ariffin
Egypt is the new frontier in the global vegetable oil markets. Strategically located in the Middle East Region and due principally to demographic profile offers great potential for palm oil to venture to. The impending changes to the edible oil policy which will favour blending of palm oil with other vegetables oils is one of the key contributing factors to the vast potential that Egypt could offer. Coupled with the low domestic oil production, Egypt has to rely on imports in order to satisfy more than 80% of her vegetable oil requirements amounting to about 2 million tonnes annually.

The government plays a key role in oil imports and consumption owing to its massive food subsidy system affecting some 67 million residents. The fast growing Egyptian population and the escalating daily cost rendered Egyptian Government to restructure their Food Rationing Scheme in order to be more efficient and sustainable. The improvised new scheme has overcome issues such as cost, oils product quality and supply which otherwise had been plaguing the old system.

The new Food Rationing Scheme offers a huge potential market for palm oil. Traditionally, the Government of Egypt has placed restrictions on other oils as cooking oil except soyabean oil and sunflower oil. The new Food Rationing Scheme has allowed palm olein blended oil to be sold under the scheme. Blends with palm olein had undergone a thorough techno-economic studies and the positive outcome has enhanced preference for such blends. In the light of this new development which offers new market potential for palm oil, Malaysian palm oil exporters ought to capitalize on the changes of Egyptian Food Rationing Scheme by exporting more palm oil to the Egyptian market.

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