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Palm oil industry hit most EPP targets [03-04-2012]  
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Malaysia's palm oil industry did fairly well in achieving most of the targets listed in the eight entry point projects (EPPs) last year.

The first EPP, which is to accelerate replanting and new planting of oil palm trees, achieved 81 per cent of its 126,500ha target.

This year, the bar is further raised to 140,000ha with estimated investment totalling RM980 million, the Economic Transformation Programme's annual report said.

Last year, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) hired 100 "Tunjuk, Ajar dan Nasihat" (Tunas) officers to help smallholders improve their agricultural practices and set up co-operatives to achieve better economies of scale.

To date, smallholders have formed 15 cooperatives throughout Perak, Selangor, Malacca, Johor, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak.

In driving speedier harvesting of oil palm fruits, the government has introduced a RM1,000 discount scheme to encourage the use of motorised sickle called Cantas and diamond blade sharpeners.

A total of 2,189 units of Cantas and 3,633 units of diamond sharpeners have been bought up by planters.

This year, the oil extraction rate is set to improve to 21.05 per cent from a three-year low of 19.70 per cent as 55 more enforcement officers will be stationed at the mills to ensure only good quality crops are processed.

The report said since MPOB recruited 186 enforcement officers to supervise underperforming mills, the national oil extraction rate had reversed from downward trends traditionally observed in two periods - February-March and June-August.

As at December 2011, 48 biogas plants were built nationwide to turn greenhouse gas into green energy.

The sixth EPP seeks further investments to shift the industry to produce more value added oleochemicals like surfactants, bio-polyols, bio-lubricants, agrochemicals and glycerol derivatives.

Sahabat Renewable Fuel Ventures Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Premium Renewable Energy and Felda Palm Industries Sdn Bhd, is planning to build five bio oil plants that uses biomass as feedstock.

The first plant, using pyrolysis technology, is slated to start construction by the end of this year.

On the rubber industry, the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) plans to set up budwood centres in Panampang (Sabah), Similajau (Sarawak), Bukit Kuantan (Pahang), Sg Sari (Kedah) and Kota Tinggi (Johor) in the next three years.

In raising average national rubber yield to 2,000kg/ha/year by 2020, MRB will carry our inspections in 84 nurseries to eliminate rogue clones.

The government is setting a replanting target of 40,000ha.

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