Sunday, September 20

‘Castor plantation has potential’

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KUCHING: A factory to extract castor – an oilbearing crop – may be set up in Kuching division by 2013. Its presence will position Malaysia as a major castor contributor.

BEARING FRUIT: Tan (centre) with Casa Kinabalu chairman Salamat Othman (fourth right) and others pose with castor plants. — Photo by Louis Koh

Assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Tan Joo Phoi said castor plantation had high potential to generate more revenues for the country as the extracted product could be exported to Europe, the US, China, India and Russia.

“The climate here is suitable for planting castor and once it is in mass production, we can export extracted castor oil to foreign markets.

“More farmers in the state should be part of the castor plantation programme because castor oil comes with high global demand,” he said at the castor plantation harvesting ceremony undertaken by Casa Kinabalu Sdn Bhd at the Tapah Community Hall, over 20 miles from here yesterday.

Tan, who is Batu Kawah assemblyman, was pleased that the first batch of castor plantation in Tapah was ready for harvesting.

“I remember launching the plantation site two or three months ago and it is now almost harvest time. It shows that castor plants bear fruits within months and the industry is set to bring about stable income for farmers.”

Noting that Casa Kinabalu Sdn Bhd is a West Malaysia-based corporation, he said it should work closely with some local institutes here to come up with training courses to groom the industry.

Castor oil can be used as transport biofuel, a renewable alternative to petrol, a refined fuel made from hydrocarbon oil, according to a pamphlet Casa Kinabalu Sdn Bhd distributed yesterday.

The world annual production has reached 1.2 million tonnes with India, China and Brazil as the major producing countries.