MPOB to request higher allocation for R&D in 10MP
by Ooi Tee Ching
Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) is stepping up its research and development (R&D) activities and will request for a higher allocation under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011 to 2015). MPOB’s R&D activities range from growing better yielding oil palm trees at one end of the spectrum to formulation of medicine from palm oil vitamins.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said R&D is paramount for the oil palm industry to progress further. Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006 to 2010), RM117 million was allocated to MPOB for R&D. So far, RM70 million has been drawn down.
The minister highlighted that the national average yield of four tonnes of CPO per hectare per year, had been stagnant for two decades. “Agricultural land devoted to oil palm production has reached saturation level and there’s not much more land we can utilise,” Dompok said.
“We can only go forward by increasing productivity. Through research, we can step up replanting of higher yielding trees,” he told reporters after officiating at the MPOB Transfer of Technology Seminar 2009 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Dompok urged planters to mechanise harvesting at the estates using MPOB’s know-how so as to reduce dependency on foreign workforce.
Last month, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said preparations to gather input for the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011 to 2015) will be guided by a new economic model that generate more skilled workers earning higher income.