JOHOR BAHARU, Dec 12 (Bernama) -- Primary Industries Minister Datuk SeriDr Lim Keng Yaik wants companies involved in the oil palm-based downstreamindustry to be seriously involved in biodiesel and go for joint ventureswith foreign companies.
He said that Malaysia has succeeded in using biodiesel technology managedby the Palm Oil Research Institute Malaysia (PORIM) since 15 years ago.
Within that period, the oil palm-based diesel was tested on 900 lorries,he told reporters after opening Rikevita (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (Rikevita)plant in Tampoi, here.
However, Dr Lim said that it seemed that local entrepreneurs were not keenin the biodiesel industry as they concentrated more on oil palm plantationand production.
He said that they should work towards diversifying the oil palm productsas PORIM has its own reserach centre for this purpose which could benefitthe planters and provide good income.
Dr Lim said that the government encouraged local entrepreneurs to ventureinto biodiesel on a joint venture basis with Japan as although thatcountry did not have the raw commodity, it has a vast market.
Although the investment for a biodiesel project involved a RM500 millioninvestment, it could give good returns.
Earlier in his speech, Dr Lim said that total exports of palm oilproducts, constituting palm oil, palm kernel oil, palm kernel cake,oleochemicals and finished products have increased marginally by about60,000 tonnes or 0.4 percent to 14.68 million tonnes compared to 14.62million tonnes in 2001.
However, owing to higher prices of palm oil products, the total exportvalue of palm oil products increased by a hefty 38 percent to RM19.62billion in 2002 as against RM14.22 billion in 2001.
"Malaysia continues to be the largest producer and exporter of palm oilproducts in the world. The performance of Malaysia oil palm industry isexpected to sustain and improve further in years to come. It is expectedthat this year's production will be slightly more than 13 million tonnes,"Dr Lim said.
Rikevita Malaysia, a subsidiary of Riken Vitamin, expanded its operationswith the unveiling of a new RM109 million new emulsifier plant in JohorBaharu.
Rikevita has been a leading producer of distilled monoglycerides (DMG)since its establishment in 1991 as the first overseas plant of RikenVitamin Co.Ltd. of Japan.
Riken Vitamin, a world-renowned producer of DMG, vitamins and food owns 90percent of Rikevita Malaysia while Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan holdsthe other 10 percent.
Rikevita Managing Director Mamoru Hara said that the new plant willsignificantly expand its production capacity by 18,000 tonness to 27,000tonnes per year.
He said that emulsifiers were key ingredients to improve the quality offood products such as bread, cakes, dairies, ice cream, tofu, noodles,fats and oil. They are also used in the cosmetics and plastic industries.
Rikevita manufactures more than 160 products exporting to over 50countries worldwide and all products are certified "Halal" and Kosher.
He said that worldwide demand for emulsifiers were growing and that hasbeen reflected in the company's performance.
He said that in 2002, sales reached RM56 million, representing 40 percentincrease over 2001 and was confident that sales will exceed RM100 millionsoon.