KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) expects palm oil to remain as the country’s main commodity and has no intention of replacing it with bamboo.
The ministry said it would continue to strengthen the palm oil industry with the latest technology, expand its overseas market and diversify palm oil-based value-added food products internationally by conducting various studies on the goodness and benefits of palm oil.
“At the same time, MPIC will also explore opportunities and potential of bamboo as another commodity that can be developed alongside the existing commodities,” it said in a written reply to the Dewan Negara yesterday.
The ministry was responding to a question from Senator Idris Ahmad on MPIC’s efforts to make bamboo as one of the country’s main exports.
Earlier, MPIC Deputy Minister II Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng said the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) was actively conducting research and development (R&D) to produce high-quality and high-yield crops that could contribute towards increasing the country’s palm oil productivity.
He said among the latest results of MPOB’s palm oil plant material research was the Palm Series 1.1 (PS1.1) which has the superior feature of shrubs with an annual growth rate of less than 40 cm per year.
“This breed is 20 to 25 per cent lower than the current Dura X Psifera hybrid breed which can facilitate the harvesting process,” Wee said.
He said in terms of yields, the PS1.1 breed could produce 35 tonnes per hectare of fresh fruit bunches per year with oil extraction rate of up to 27 per cent with oil yield of around eight tonnes per year. Wee said PS1.1 was still in its infancy in terms of production scale and cultivation, with a production capacity of 50,000 seeds per year.
He said about 80 per cent of the seeds produced were for MPOB’s own usage for commercial plantations and research while the rest were for the local market, especially smallholders.
So far, the area of PS1.1 breeding crops totalled around 70 hectares, including cultivation at farms that were joint ventures between MPOB and the industry, he said, adding that the area was expected to increase in the next few years. — Bernama