Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s cluster plan takes root

The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has been?tasked to recruit additional guidance and counselling (Tunas) officers to?cluster independent smallholders into cooperatives under the Palm Oil National?Key Results Area (NKRA).

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said?this was to ensure the implementation of best practices by all plantations,?organised smallholders and cooperatives, to increase the fresh fruit bunch?yield.

Some 100 Tunas officers have been trained and will be posted to regional?offices in March, he said after witnessing the exchange of agreements between?Malaysia Rubber Board, Felda Rubber Industries Sdn Bhd and Mardec Bhd here?today.

He said this Entry Point Project (EPP) under the Palm Oil NKRA aimed to?achieve a national average yield of 22 tonnes per hectare for independent?smallholders, 26 tonnes per hectare for organised smallholders and 28 tonnes per?hectare for the plantation sector by 2020.

Four cooperatives were established last year, covering 17,076 hectares with?an average of 786 independent smallholders in one cooperative.

For this year, Dompok said, MPOB’s target was to cluster 25,761 independent?smallholders with a planted area of 107,312 hectares into 11 cooperatives.

He said three certification clusters were established early this year,?namely Kluang Cluster on Jan 6, Belaga Cluster on Jan 18 and Kinabatangan?Cluster on Feb 16.

In total, this covers 42,837 hectares with 9,848 smallholders.?Dompok said MPOB had also identified a further 38 mills that are currently?constructing biogas facilities.

At present, there are 36 mills with biogas?facilities nationwide.?He also said MPOB would proceed to increase awareness by reaching out to?millers on the need to develop biogas plants, and a national seminar on biogas?utilisation will be held in May. The seminar will cover the technical aspects and economic?analysis of biogas plants.

Biogas facilities would help reduce the environmental impact of fresh fruit?bunch processing by using the methane gas produced by the process to generate?electricity, he said.? The Palm Oil NKRA comprises five EPPs for upstream activities and three EPPs?focus on downstream activities.

Under the Palm Oil NKEA, the contribution of palm oil industry to Gross?National Income is expected to increase to RM178 billion by 2020 with an?additional 41,000 jobs created, of which 40 per cent will be highly skilled professionals.

– Bernama