31.01.2019 (The Star Online) - TEMERLOH: Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) is looking forward to replanting its oil palm trees with higher yielding materials as a more sustainable method instead of increasing its land bank.
Deputy managing director and chief operation officer (upstream) Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha said the company believes in getting as much as possible from its current land and not by expanding to a bigger area.
“We are making a lot of effort in research and development (R&D). You have probably heard of the breakthrough that we have made on Genome, which we have planted in quite a substantial area. Some of them are coming to maturity next year,” he said.
SDP has over 602,000ha of oil palm plantations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Liberia, and out of this, Mohamad Helmy said about 500,000ha are in maturity at any one time.
Its current average tree age is about 12 to 12.5 years, the best average age for oil palms.
“If we were able to increase additional yield from this same hectarage, you can imagine how much growth we can get.
“We are doing R&D and obviously management practices on the ground have got to be the best that we are known to be associated with.
“Of course, barring for El Nino, we believe that the targeted rate of growth of 4% or 5% is actually achievable without even expanding a single inch of land, because we don’t believe that is a very sustainable way of doing things,” he said.
Chief sustainability officer Dr Simon Lord concurred, saying that this reduced the pressure on deforestation.
“Intensification of what we have is the way forward, not expansion of the land bank,” Lord said.
They were speaking to reporters after a ceremony at its Jentar estate here yesterday to celebrate the completion of SDP’s Jentar Plant-A-Tree project, a biodiversity conservation initiative that includes the largest collection of endangered, rare and threatened tree species in a single oil palm plantation area in the country.
Meanwhile, SDP is also optimistic that this year would be a positive one for the palm oil industry and hopes that crude palm oil (CPO) prices would be higher than current levels.
Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2019/01/31/sime-darby-plantations-eyes-higher-yields-via-rd/#EdGVyBQ9tJLGxHcg.99