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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Business Times
 United Plantations focus on research bearing fruit

5/6/06  ( Business Times) UNITED Plantations Bhd (UPB), one of the country’s major plantation firms, is banking on research to boost crude palm oil yield way past the national average.
It has managed to produce seeds for high-yielding oil palm trees and this could boost yield up to eight tonnes of CPO per hectare (ha).

Currently, the national average for CPO yield is 3.85 tonnes per ha while UPB’s average is 5.65 tonnes a ha.

“This involves long-term planning but at present it is suffice to say that UPB has made technological breakthrough by producing very high oil yielding seeds,” Carl Bek-Nielsen, UPB’s vice-chairman and executive director (corporate affairs), told Business Times in an interview recently.

He gave the interview in conjunction with the Prime Minister’s recent two-day working tour to Perak and his visit to the Jenderata Estate.

Abdullah was briefed on the technological breakthrough in tissue cultivation and oil palm seed cloning at UPB’s research centre. He later officially launched UPB’s seed production unit and the “Sawit Perdana Ser ies” of high oil yielding clonal and biclonal oil palm seeds.

UPB’s clonal and biclonal seeds have been proven to yield fresh fruit bunches of up to 35 tonnes per ha with high oil content of 28.5 per cent and average CPO of up to 8 tonnes per ha, said Bek-Nielsen.

UPB is reaping the benefits of its research. About 15 per cent of its 41,000 ha of oil palm estate gives a yield of over seven tonnes per ha, helped by the high-yield seeds.

However, it would take UPB at least 25 years to raise its total CPO yield average to 7.5 to 8 tonnes per ha.

“It took 20 years, from the 1980s to present, for UPB to raise its average CPO production from four tonnes per ha per year to 5.65 tonnes. It will take another 25-30 years to raise the average to eight tonnes. The target is achievable because we now have the superior seeds under the Perdana Series,” Bek-Nielsen said.

UPB has always set the target of raising its CPO average by 1.5-2 per cent per year, he said. This is important, he added, because for every 10 per cent increase in CPO yield, the overall operational cost is reduced by up to 8 per cent.

UPB allocates about RM6 million annually for in-house research.

Malaysian Palm Oil Board ( MPOB ) Lot 6, SS6, Jalan Perbandaran, 47301 Kelana Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.
Tel : 603 - 7802 2800 || Fax : 603 - 7803 3533