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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Business Times
 New composting product for plantations firms

2/2/07 (Busienss Times)   -  MALAYSIA'S plantations industry, which relies on imported chemicals, manure and agriculture waste as fertilisers, can now opt for a new revolutionary product developed locally.

Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Sdn Bhd has discovered a new formulation to make compost which is 100 per cent made in Malaysia, and claimed to be faster, environment friendly and cheaper.

Its managing director Mohd Rizal Abdullah said plantation companies usually need four months to prepare compost using conventional techniques.

"Our secret recipe is by using local bacteria strains to expedite the biodegradation (composting) process which takes between two-three weeks," Mohd Rizal told Business Times.

Director of research and technology development Hussain Maqbool said unlike conventional technologies, only 25-30 per cent of the present investment is needed to establish a composting facility.

"By processing 250 tonnes of empty fruit bunches a day, the cost of production for finished compost is RM20-RM30 a tonne compared with current conventional composting technologies at RM50-RM80 per tonne," said Hussain.

Mohd Rizal said a listed plantation company with some 70,000ha of oil palm estates has shown interest in acquiring its services.

The company will also approach Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui to promote the new product.

He said the revolutionary method could help Malaysia's oil palm millers add value to oil palm waste products, namely empty fruit bunches and palm oil effluent.

Malaysia has 400 oil palm millers and the country's agriculture sector as a whole discards 80-90 million tonnes of agriculture waste/biomass a year, of which 45 million tonnes are converted into fertiliser or compost.

Mohd Rizal said the company developed the technology over the past four years involving the breakdown of cellulite and does not involve chemical, organic, biological, mechanical, thermal cooking or other artificial sources which can destroy nutrients.

Hussain said the oil palm industry's current practice of mulching - the heaping of oil palm waste around oil palm trees - can sometimes damage the trees because its biological and chemical properties such as PH (power of hydrogen) or water content are not stabilised.

The company currently has a 3ha pilot plant in Semenyih, Selangor, that can process 10,000 tonnes of empty fruit bunches a day.

Agriculture & Environmental Technologies is a waste management technology services provider in the fields of agriculture, environment and plantations with an authorised capital of RM500,000, of which RM250,000 is fully issued and paid up.

Malaysia's composting industry is still in its infancy. The country imports over RM1 billion worth of fertilisers a year.

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