New Straits Times (15/07/2020) - TECHNOLOGY is vital in innovating and value-adding the oil palm industry to drive it forward.
Technologies have been created, innovated and improved to boost the effectiveness and competitiveness of the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the oil palm industry.
At the forefront of innovating the country's oil palm industry, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has been providing scientific research and development (R&D) for new technologies for the industry.
With more than 80 per cent of palm oil used in food, MPOB has placed priorities in research to expedite growth in food and health-based downstream segments, such as phytonutrient (tocotrienols, carotenoids and phenolics), trans-free and low-saturated food product formulations. MPOB's extensive R&D has enhanced palm oil's quality and versatility, hence, making it more acceptable as a premium edible oil in global markets.
Some of the products developed using MPOB's technologies and formulations, such as margarine, shortening, vanaspati (vegetable ghee), specialty animal fat replacer, coconut cream analogue, chocolate spread, salad dressing, creamer and ice cream cooking/frying oils and fats, solid fat products, dairy products analogue, confectionaries, functional foods and assortment products, are now available in the market.
The technologies and innovations developed by MPOB, which are available for commercialisation, provide business opportunities and growth for industry players, particularly local entrepreneurs.
The abundant supply of raw materials, the versatility of palm-based products, technology know-how and research facilities owned by MPOB facilitate the commercialisation of palm oil-based technologies.
MPOB's pilot plant facilities provide technological support for commercialisation of technologies and assist takers, including small and medium industries (SMIs).
MPOB has to date unveiled 675 technologies and 192 services. In terms of technology commercialisation, it has recorded an outstanding achievement rate of 30.54 per cent, while patented technologies stood at 33.24 per cent.
MPOB unveiled eight technologies and seven services for commercialisation at its annual event, the "Transfer of Technology Seminar", last week.
They are for the food industry, farm machinery, planting materials and plant protection.
These technologies, such as food formulations, require low capital investments and provide business opportunities for the SMIs.
For example, palm oil-based margarine can be stored in a room-temperature environment as it does not require refrigeration. This reduces the cost of transportation and storage.
Another new technology that was unveiled is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) marker for the detection of Marasmius palmivorus, which causes bunch rot disease.
Its ability to perform early detection of the disease can enable oil palm growers to take mitigation action at the early stage to save their oil palm.
Also unveiled is the Clonal Palm Series 3 (CPS3), the latest addition to MPOB's CPS planting materials. With limited landbank and pressures of meeting sustainable goals, maximising yield per unit land area is the key.
CPS3 can help achieve this goal. It is the planting material of choice in meeting the national aspiration towards higher productivity of crude palm oil and sustainable agriculture.
Hundreds of MPOB's breakthrough technological innovations have been commercialised and they have enhanced the productivity and efficiency of the oil palm industry.
Industry players and entrepreneurs who have taken up the technologies have grown into leading players in their respective fields.
The participation of local companies and SMIs in technology commercialisation is in line with the government's initiative in developing them into innovative, competitive and resilient entities.
With greater focus and incentives from the government, we hope more entrepreneurs, especially SMIs, will come forward to venture into the commercialisation of MPOB's technologies.
Read more at https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/07/608629/boosting-industry-tech