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MPOB, A Catalyst Towards Many Technological Breakt
calendar20-08-2001 | linkNULL | Share This Post:

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Palm Oil Board hasassisted in many technological breakthroughs towards the commercialisationof palm-based products and industry players should take advantage of them,says its director-general, Datuk Dr Yusof Basiron.

For instance, oil palm trunks can now be processed into plywood productsand furniture, he said in a recent interview.

And some industry players are still evaluating the potential of turningpalm fronds or oil palm biomass into pulp and paper.

MPOB, he said, hoped to see greater use for oil palm residues and biomassso that they would not be thrown away like in the past.

Dr Yusof said the commercialisation of oil palm products and by-productscould be considered to be at an infancy stage now but over time, MPOBhoped that this would gather momentum.

He said MPOB would continue to offer new technologies like converting someof the waste into biomass for generating electricity.

He said if the food and oleochemical industries cannot absorb all thesupply, the surplus can be used as fuel.

However, Dr Yusof said palm oil would have a better price platform if themajority of the supply was consumed by the food industry.

Some of MPOB's experiments centred on using crude palm oil (CPO) boilerfuel or mixed fuel for power generation and using palm olein for dieselengines.

Meanwhile, a number of products and services connected with the oil palmindustry would be exhibited in conjunction with the 2001 InternationalPalm Oil Congress (2001 PIPOC) at Hotel Istana and Mutiara Kuala Lumpur(formerly KL Hilton) here from Monday until Wednesday.

The theme of this year's congress is "Cutting-edge technologies forsustained competitiveness."

As for oleochemicals, Dr Yusof said palm kernel oil products would bepromoted as being the intermediate raw materials for the food industry.

MPOB, he said, was also introducing palm-based detergents anddisinfectants and these new applications would sustain palm kernel oil inthe coming years.

"Malaysia is already a major sector for oleochemical supply. We have 13-15plants in the country. They have been making very good profit margins overthe last few years," he said.

Dr Yusof said the good profits would attract more reinvestment in thecountry's oleochemicals sector and enable Malaysia to become the world'soleochemicals hub.

"We have the raw materials at our doorsteps," he said.

Dr Yusof noted that palm oil could be used for a wide range of products,including pharmaceuticals like anti-oxidants, Vitamins A and E.

He said some companies were already extracting Vitamin E from palm oil andMPOB was now actively involved with Petronas to build a second plant tocommercially extract Vitamins A and E from palm oil.

Dr Yusof said although the price of CPO had now picked up, the industryshould respond to the government's incentives to replant their ageing oilpalms.

In the past, he said planters delayed their replanting schedule because ofexpectations of higher prices in 1998.

As a result, there was some backlog in replanting, he said.

The government's oil palm replanting scheme was introduced in March thisyear aimed at reducing supply in the market by 600,000 tonnes to help theprice to recover. About 200,000 ha have been targeted for replanting andso far 170,000 ha have been replanted.

In the long term, Dr Yusof said replanting would produce young andvigorous oil palms, which in return would give betters yield compared toolder trees. -- BERNAMA