El Nino To Have Little Impact On Sarawak Oil Palm Sector: Ta Ann

SIBU, May 26 (Bernama) — The expected El Nino dry weather phenomenon will have not much impact on the oil palm sector in Sarawak.

Ta Ann Holdings Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Wong Kuo Hea said this was because more than 40 per cent of the state’s oil palm plantations are in peat soil areas.

“The water management in peat soil areas will continue to provide water for the palms.

“El Nino will have greater impact on those planted in mineral soil,” he said when met by reporters after the company’s annual general meeting here today.

For Ta Ann, Wong said more than 75 per cent of its plantations are in peat soil areas.

He also said the company was enhancing and increasing its machine usages in the harvesting of fresh fruit bunches (FFB).

“For instance in our Igan plantation, the usage of mechanised harvestor is about 70 per cent and in another area it is 80 per cent.

“We will continue to use machines for the purpose because it is more efficient,” he said.

In addition, he said it was getting tougher and tougher now to recruit foreign labour especially from Indonesia.

“As palm trees mature, the bunches will get bigger and heavier to carry manually,” he said.

For its financial year ended Dec 31, 2013 Ta Ann posted profit after tax of RM92.7 million, up 80 per cent from the previous year, while group revenue fell three per cent to RM769.9 million.

Chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi said this translated to an earnings per share of 25.09 sen.

“We expect better prospects in the year ahead with crude palm oil prices already breaching the RM2,700 per metric tonne level in February this year.

“With our matured acreage increasing by 2,400 hectares to 28,000 hectares, we expect our FFB production to increase accordingly by 12 to 14 per ecnt,” he said.

For timber and timber products division, he said the Indian market for its plywood “appears healthy.”

“We are hopeful that the Japanese plywood demand will pick up as infrastructure works and construction begins in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics games in 2020,” he added.

Source : BERNAMA

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