MPOB sets up RM30m research fund for palm oil industry


The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has set up an Oil Palm Mechanisation Fund with an initial investment of RM30mil to facilitate further research and technology for the palm oil industry.

Plantation Industries and Commodities  Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said the mechanisation fund involves contributions from government and private sector.

"We hope the private sector will contribute RM5mil towards the fund for a start as this would help spur research and technology activities for small palm oil stakeholders here.

"This would also aid in increasing productivity, efficiency and quality of palm oil production," Mah told reporters after opening the Palm Oil Economic Review and Outlook Seminar 2017 on Tuesday morning.

He noted that the palm oil industry is labour intensive with about 431,357 workers in the estates, of which 77 per cent or 332,135 were foreigners.

“But we want to reduce the dependency towards foreign labour in the long run. With more efficient technology and equipment, we can reduce foreign labour.

"The ministry is targeting one worker per 12 hectares as opposed to one worker per eight hectare now," he pointed out.

On recent reports claiming that Nutella could contain cancer causing agents, Mah said the claims were not true and it wasn't proven.

The MPOB has projected palm oil price to average RM2,700 to RM2,800 per tonne in 2017. It is now ranging around RM3,200 a tonne.


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