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Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani




Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani





Papers from empty fruit bunches soon
IPOH, Oct 13: Malaysian pulp and paper mills will soon be able to producehigh quality papers using the abundant supply of locally produced emptyfruit bunches (EFB) from the palm oil sector.Malaysian pulp and paper mills will soon be able to produce high qualitypapers using the abundant supply of locally produced empty fruit bunches(EFB) from the palm oil sector.Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said during hisvisit to the Fujian province in China last month, he brought alongshredded fibre from the EFB to experiment whether it the EFB could beturned into a viable alternative to wood-based raw material."The results were encouraging. Although the experiment produced lowquality papers, it gave us a positive indication that with improvedtechnology and improvisation our local pulp and paper mills will be ableto produce high quality papers using the EFB," he told the New StraitsTimes when attending the 10th anniversary celebration of Kampung JeringBeautification Committee near Ayer Tawar last night.Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, given the task to experiment theEFB, has rented a pulp and paper mill in China's Fujian province for aperiod of seven days one week to test the shredded fibre.Dr Lim said the experiment showed that mills in the capacity range ofabout 25,000 tonnes of pulp per year could be established locally toproduce papers.He said the next step in expanding the use of EFB as a viable source ofpaper manufacturing was to send locally shredded fibre to mills in Chinato be toll-manufactured into papers and then sent back to Malaysia."Although the local pulp and paper industry is almost 40 years, growth hadbeen slow," he said, adding that the 19 paper manufacturing companies inthe country needed to implement new technologies to be able to convert theEFB as raw material for manufacturing of papers.He said the FRIM had been given the task to acquire the technology and themethodology involved in the production of the papers using the EFB."Once we have the know-how, we will impart it to local pulp and papermanufacturers," Dr Lim said, adding that the local pulp and paper industryshould fully capitalise on the vast availability of fibre materials,especially from EFB.There are about 350 oil palm mills in Malaysia, producing 16.5 milliontonnes (wet weight) of EFB per year which is equivalent to about sixmillion tonnes of dry EFB based on a moisture content of 60 per cent.Dr Lim told delegates during a seminar on Pulp and Paper Seminar held inPutrajaya last month that the country had the potential to produce 1.7million tonnes of paper per year and at the rate of US$750 per tonne thevalue of the paper produced would be about US$1.27 billion.Other non-wood raw materials used in the paper manufacturing are ricestraws, corn stalks, wheat straws and bamboos.These sources have been successfully turned into pulp and paper in Chinaand India.