Production of palm oil by Malaysia in the first nine months of 2002 reached 8.704 million tonnes and exceeded total production for the same period of the previous year that totalled 8.649 million tonnes by 55 000 t or by 0.63% (Table 1). Monthly movements in production for the first five months of 2002 indicated that only production in March exceeded that of the same period in 2001. Production of the other four months in 2002 was lower than that of the similar months in 2001. In 2002, monthly production started to pick up in May and started to exceed that of 2001 beginning June. This increase is quite normal considering that the third quarter is the peak period in the production of palm oil. An interesting development is that in 2002, production broke the 1 million tonnes mark beginning July and it continued to be on the increasing trend until September. When compared with the previous year, the 1 million tonnes production mark was in January and later from September onwards. From the increased production observed during January-September, it is estimated that production in 2002 may reach 11.68 million tonnes, an increase from the forecast of 11.63 million tonnes made earlier. However, this would still be lower than production of the previous year, which was at 11.803 million tonnes. The decline in production in 2002 could be attributed to the trees resting after undergoing high production stress for four years.
Keywords: MPOB PUBLICATIONS, MARKET DEVELOPMENT, PALM OIL & OIL PALM INDUSTRY-Malaysia, PALM OIL, PRODUCTION FORECAST, PRODUCTION STATISTICS, EXPORTS