KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 (Bernama) — The government remains committed to increasing and improving the country’s palm oil sector this year, the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) in the Prime Minister’s Department said in its 2012 Annual Report of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).
Pemandu said under the Palm Oil National Key Economic Area (NKEA), Malaysia’s most important commodity is expected to contribute from RM125 billion to RM178 billion to the Gross National Income (GNI) and create about 41,600 jobs by 2020, with the government’s focus on eight Entry Point Projects (EPPs).
It said palm oil production has surged in recent decades, owing to the success and support of research and development activities in developing higher-yielding, top quality crops by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).
“The eight EPPs have been outlined by the government under the palm oil NKEA to drive the sector’s growth and its role as a central element of the national economy.
“As part of the government’s efforts to accelerate the country’s replanting and new planting programme and manage stock levels, the government has allocated an additional RM432 million as funds for independent smallholders’ replanting and new planting initiatives in 2013,” Pemandu said in the report released Tuesday.
According to Pemandu, the government will also accelerate the replanting of oil palm by plantations and smallholders as well as new planting by independent smallholders to 130,000 ha. and raise the area complying with best practices by an additional 200,000 ha. in 2013.
The report also said that the EPP will continue to focus on raising the country’s palm oil productivity and targets a take-up of 1,500 units of the “Cantas” motorised cutter by plantation companies and smallholders.
The EPP also aims to set up an additional eight biogas plants at oil palm mills in 2013, with an additional two mills expected to feed excess electricity into the national power grid, it said in the report.
However, Pemandu said, the government has allocated an additional RM127.1 million as developmental grants in 2013 to encourage more players to venture into oleo derivatives that require high-skilled labour and technology.
It added the government will continue to facilitate the development of the bio-oil project in addition to developing the market for renewable energy through other forms of biomass to energy, and to improve the national oil extraction rate to 21.05 per cent this year.
Source : BERNAMA