Saturday, August 13

Research unit appeals for government funding

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KUCHING: The Tropical Peat Research Laboratory Unit (TPRLU) is requesting the federal government to be committed in supporting its research and development projects.

“We have started the research on peat soil earlier. And it must continue. We cannot stop half way or have a missing link.

“Research cannot be done that way. It must be continuous. We need continuous data to prove our theories,” said TPRLU director Dr Lulie Meling to The Borneo Post.

Lulie, who is now in Sibu for the 10th Incorporated Society of Planters National Seminars 2013 themed ‘Confronting Management Challenges in the Oil Palm Industry’, has pioneered peat research in Sarawak and successfully converted the once no man’s land into arable land.

Her research has enabled her to turn tropical peat land into arable land and domesticated oil palm in peat land and improved the yield.

And with more possible discoveries waiting, she has been banging the government’s door for funding for research on tropical peat soil.

Successfully proving through scientific data that palm oil plantations have been emitting less carbon dioxide rather than more than secondary and tropical forests, Lulie has been requesting for financial assistance from the government for more than a year.

“The last funding we were given was for 2008 to 2012. And until now, there has yet to be commitment from the relevant ministry to provide the necessary funding.

“Oil palm has been the economic security crop for Malaysia. And it is the crop that has been helping dying towns such as Sibu, Selangau and other remote towns and settlements.

“It has been the crop which can uplift the socio-economic status of those in rural areas. I hope the government can see the importance of our research and give us the financial help,” said Lulie.

She said Sarawak has been making cess contribution of RM30 million per year and in 2011 alone, palm oil export earning had reached RM83 billion.

“And we plead only RM3 million per year for the next five years for tropical peat research,” said Lulie.

Apart from this seminar, there will also be a Tropical Peat 2013 Seminar which will be held in Sibu on Sept 7.

“We appeal for the support of industry players to make this seminar a success by taking part in it,” said Lulie.