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Biotech boost for Sawit's CPO output

Published on: Friday, May 30, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Sawit Kinabalu the biggest state-owned oil palm plantation is ready to extensively plant its own cloned material to further boost its oil palm production.

The tissue cultured seedlings planted in the field and now at three to four years old have produced a very encouraging Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) yield.

Sawit Kinabalu decided to expand capacity of its Bio-technology Laboratory in Balung, Tawau, with a target of producing half a million tissue culture plantlets or ramets per year by year 2016.

SKSB will be able to meet its own annual requirement of about 250,000 per year.

With a data of not less than 5 years strict field observation, the company will then be ready to market the balance of about 200,000 to 300,000 ramet a year to any interested oil palm grower around Sabah.

Sawit Kinabalu Group Managing Director Datuk Othman Walat said Bio-technology will help to boost up ability of the plantation business, sustaining its profitability in the face of limiting land resources.

Oil palm from tissue culture is expected to produce 30pc more oil yield than the conventional planting from seed.

Sawit Kinabalu Biotech laboratory in Tawau has successfully overcome flowering abnormality problem, which was very often associated with tissue culture planting materials, much better than MPOB acceptable standard of 5pc.

As at May 2014, Sawit Kinabalu has a total oil palm area of 67,893 hectares.

Average fresh fruit bunch production in 2013 was 21.8 tonnes per hectare which was higher than Sabah average of 20.9 tonnes per hectare and the average for Malaysia of 19.0 tonnes per hectare.

The average oil extraction rate for the group was 20.41pc which was better than Malaysia's average of 20.25pc. Under its medium term strategies Sawit Kinabalu is confident that it can push up its average FFB yield per hectare to 25 tonnes and OER 22.5pc respectively by 2015.

Through incorporating tissue culture materials in its planting programme, the group is expected to improve its oil yield from 4.5 tonnes to 6.5 tonnes per hectare in 2020.

Besides germinated seeds which the group produced around eight million seeds per year, planting materials from tissue culture will be made available by the company to the public as from 2016.