Palm Disease Threatens Oil Palm Estates

SARAWAK and Sabah are potential sites for oil palm plantations but unfortunately face the serious threat of plant diseases, especially the

Ganoderma Basal Stem Rot (BSR) disease.

East Malaysia Planters Association (EMPA) management committee chairman Ismail Mustapha said that

Ganoderma

BSR, also known as oil palm cancer, seriously threatened the industry

and warranted more aggressive approaches to find a solution.

The disease is caused by the Ganoderma bracket fungus which is lethal and been incurable for more than 50 years now.

During replanting, if oil palm trunks are left to rot, various Ganoderma fruiting bodies may be produced and thrive.

It

is fast becoming a major threat to oil palm cultivation and palm oil

production in Malaysia because it is difficult to control.

Ismail, who is also Sarawak Plantation Bhd operations controller, told a EMPA seminar on Pest and Diseases of Oil Palm that Ganoderma BSR had been causing significant losses to plantation owners in the two states.

Some 100 participants, both EMPA members and non-members, attended the seminar.

The

seminar’s objective was for EMPA members to share their knowledge,

experiences and ideas beneficial to the plantation and agro-business

industry.

Since its establishment in 1989, EMPA had undertaken

research and development projects to find ways to improve the plantation

industry in Sarawak and Sabah, said Ismail.

“EMPA encourages

more players in the oil palm, plantation and agro-business industries in

Sarawak to set up joint ventures to benefit from the collaboration,

initiatives and EMPA’s programmes,” he added.

He advised oil palm plantation owners to be prudent in management despite the increases in crude palm oil prices.

“Although

the price increase has benefited many members, plantation owners should

be aware as there is also an unwelcome increase in operating costs and

related expenses.

“It is important of estate companies to ensure that costs and expenses are kept in check,” he added.

Source : The Star by Cindy Lai

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