14/07/05 Kota Kinabalu (Sabah Daily Express) - Sufficient locally testedoil palm planting materials are crucial in attaining good production inSabah, said Sawit Kinabalu Berhad Group Managing Director Salim Mohammad.
He said many seeds planted in Sabah, the country's largest oil palmcultivator, were from West Malaysia which raises inconveniences inapplying for the necessary import permit and cost involved in airfreightand handling charges with much of the material evaluated outside Sabah'sconditions.
This is the reason why Sawit Kinabalu Berhad initiated oil palm DxPproduction in 1995 with mother palms leased from the AgricultureDepartment - Ulu Dusun Research Station, Salim said when launching theSawit Kinabalu DxP planting material produced from its seed garden inTawau.
"Since then Sawit Group has actively engaged in the collection andevaluation of elite parental palms from both Ulu Dusun Research Stationand also the Malaysian Palm Oil Board," he said.
"These vast germplasm collections were raised and researched at SawitGroup's Seed Garden at Balung, Tawau.
"Sawit Group has successfully identified the best Dura mother palms andPisifera pollen sources from the collections which include geneticmaterials from the Sabah Breeding Programme, Nigerian prospectionmaterials, PS1, PS2 and AVROS from MPOB (Malaysian Palm Oil Board).
"Now Sawit Group is in a sound position to produce the superior oil palmDxP seeds from its own seed garden in Balung and also Ulu Dusun, whichwill enable the Group to produce about five million seeds per year," hesaid.
Salim said the material acquired from their breeding programme has giventhe company the confidence in realising its goal of 25 per cent oilextraction rate and 35 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches per hectare afternine years of planting.
"Sawit Kinabalu DxP seeds are proven to have high level of purity asstringent control measures are followed to meet SIRIM and MPOB's licencerequirement. This is manifested in the good rating obtained from thecomparative performance evaluation exercise carried out by MPOB.
"Extensive progeny testing carried out by the company is a guarantee tothe industry of the superiority of its planting materials. The exercisehas also provided good sources of DxP for the company's latest venture intissue culture of oil palm," he said.
The Sawit Group's first commercial oil palm tissue culture laboratory islocated in the same area as the seed garden. Commissioned last May, itwill eventually have the capacity to produce some 100,000 plantletsannually.