Small Millers to Gain from RM1.5 Billion Allocation

KUALA LUMPUR: The move by the Government to allocate RM1.5bil to promote green technology will be helpful to small palm oil millers as loans under the fund can be used to install methane trap facilities to ease global warming, says an analyst at CIMB Investment Bank Bhd.

ìFor big palm oil millers, it will not be an issue to install the facility but, for smaller players, the loan will be useful,î she told StarBiz.

Methane is one of the many trapped harmful gases in the environment that contribute to global warming and depletion of the ozone layer.

She said one reason why most palm oil mills were still not installing the facility was because they were still not sure how profitable the business would be.

ìThough Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) will buy the electricity after the methane is transformed into energy (using the methane trap facility), the cost of building the infrastructure to deliver the electricity to TNB is still high, especially to the smaller players, she said.

Malaysian Palm Oil Council chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron was reported as saying that though there were more than 400 palm oil millers in the country, about 96% of the mills were still without the trap facility.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) believes the budget allocation of RM1.5bil to promote green technology will have a big impact on the palm oil industry.

ìThis is a very big boost to the industry as palm oil millers can now have funds to install the methane trap to ease global warming apart from turning it (methane) into electricity and selling it to TNB, chairman Datuk Sabri Ahmad told StarBiz yesterday after the launch of the Palm Oil Familiarisation Programme 2009 (POFP 2009).

He was recently reported as saying that incentives should be provided by the Government as trapping and burning methane was very costly, requiring an investment of RM4mil to RM6mil.

Yesterday, Sabri also lauded the move by the Government to intensify research, development and commercialisation under Budget 2010 as the palm oil industry involved much research and development.

He hoped participants of POFP 2009 would become more knowledgeable about palm oil and its products, and would turn resourceful in their respective countries.

We hope they will get a much clearer picture of palm oil, its products and the benefits to the people. We want to change the negative perceptions and misconceptions that palm oil contributed to negative health effects and was unfriendly to the environment.

Sabri hoped the information gathered at the programme would equip participants with the necessary knowledge on processing of palm-based products and would also facilitate their dealings with suppliers through personal or direct contacts.

Source : The Star by Edy Sarif

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