KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 (Bernama) -- Malaysian palm oil industry shouldemerge as the market leader for a wide range of high value-added products,International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz saidTuesday.
She said this would certainly be achievable with the natural advantagethat Malaysia had as a global producer of raw materials.
"The industry has set targets on productivity for the upstream sub-sectorlike working towards a yield of 35 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches perhectare, nine tonnes of crude palm oil per hectare, and 25 percent oilextraction rate," she said at the ministry's annual dialogue on Wood andWood-based, Palm Oil and Food Processing Industries here today.
She said these targets could be realized through measures such as greaterusage of new high-yielding planting materials, new technologies, betterfarm management, a higher level of automation in mill operations.
In 2004, the palm oil industry registered increases in exports, which grew16.1 percent to RM30.4 billion.
Investment also increased by 36 percent to RM323.9 million, of whichdomestic investments contributed RM283.1 million (87 percent).
Rafidah said there were now collaborative efforts in research anddevelopment (R&D) between the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and local aswell as foreign institutions.
She urged the palm oil industry to continue enhancing productivity andcompetitiveness through lowering the cost of production and diversifyingthe range of manufactures.
Between 1996-2004, she said the MPOB had developed 309 new technologies,of which 222 had been transferred to the industry, and 63 have beencommercialised.