Finding solutions to issues faced by palm oil industry

KUCHING: Sarawak Oil Palms Bhd (SOPB) and Ta Ann Holdings Bhd have formed a joint research collaboration with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) to address issues faced by the oil palm industry in the state.

MPOB has agreed in principle to take the lead in research to improve oil palm yields in Sarawak.

In a statement, SOPB said the palm oil extraction rate (OER) in Sarawak had dropped from 20.4% in 2014 to 20.1% last year because of various factors.

“Although weather pattern, pests and disease have severely affected fresh fruit bunch (FFB) production, the industry believes that reduced weevil activities could be the main cause of poor pollination and thus poor quality FFB.

“The outbreak of tirathaba disease as well as the rat infestations in some parts of Sarawak have also affected FFB production in coastal areas,” it said.

SOPB said oil palm producers in the state were concerned about the situation and urged quick action to find a solution.

“An urgent and effective control measure with thorough in-depth research is very much needed to solve the problems,” it said.

Towards this end, SOPB and Ta Ann Group met with MPOB late last year to form the research collaboration.

A second meeting will be held in Sibu today to finalise the details.

“SOPB and Ta Ann Group are grateful to MPOB.

“Special thanks must go to its director-general Datuk Dr Choo Yuen May who has been instrumental in supporting the collaboration effort.

“We hope this research collaboration will improve FFB production in Sarawak in the near future.”