KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has urged palm oil industry players to grasp the golden opportunity to export palm tocotrienol products to China after obtaining the approval to register the product in the republic recently.

Following the approval received on March 13, palm tocotrienol (Vitamin E) is now authorised for export and use in food applications within China.

MPOB director-general Datuk Dr Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir said the approval also gave the opportunity to industry players to capitalise the potential to significantly strengthen their market presence and revenue in one of the world’s largest markets.

"This approval is one of the best gifts awarded by the Chinese Government to the Malaysian oil palm industry in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebration of the diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China, symbolising a strong and enduring friendship as well as mutual respect and cooperation," he said in a statement.

Additionally, the approval underscores the commitment and relentless pursuit of excellence by the Malaysian palm oil sector in adhering to international health and safety standards.

It also exemplifies the strategic collaboration between government bodies and industry players in navigating the complexities of global market access and regulatory approvals.

The approval of the palm tocotrienol products registration not only opens new avenues for the Malaysian palm oil industry to penetrate the Chinese market but also has the potential to bring significant positive impacts to Malaysia's economy, said MPOB.

"The increased export of tocotrienols to China could lead to a substantial boost in the nation's revenue, contributing to economic growth and sustainability in the agricultural sector."

MPOB added that the agency together with industry players remain committed to leveraging the opportunity to enhance the visibility and acceptance of Malaysian palm oil products in China and beyond, ensuring the continued growth and sustainability of the industry. - Bernama


Sumber : The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), in collaboration with IBG Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, has commenced the trial for its latest innovative solution, the iM-bioGuard biofertiliser.

MPOB said in a statement here today that infused with the potent bacteria Pseudomonas, this biocontrol fertiliser combats the fungal pathogen Ganoderma boninense, which is the cause of the Basal Stem Rot (BSR) disease.

Also known as the "cancer" of oil palm, BSR is one of the most severe diseases afflicting oil palm estates in major producing countries, particularly in Malaysia and Indonesia, resulting in enormous economic losses of RM1.5 billion each year, it added.

The MPOB patented technology - iM-bioGuard is the first liquid type of biofertiliser that is designed to cater for easy absorption by the oil palms, making it possible to significantly reduce the damage caused by the Ganoderma disease.

During a recent visit to Machap Estate for its demonstration, Deputy Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Chan Foong Hin said the introduction of iM-bioGuard represented a significant milestone in theircollective efforts to mitigate the devastating effects of Ganoderma on the oil palm industry.

"I hope that by starting the first trial with United Malacca Bhd (UMB), it can help to increase crop resilience while promoting environmentally sustainable practices," said Chan. 

On top of that, MPOB and IBG Manufacturing have signed a commercial agreement to introduce the technology to the industry, of which this collaborative endeavour signifies a united front in advancing sustainable practices and safeguarding the future of Malaysia's oil palm industry. – Bernama


Sumber : New Straits Times

KUCHING: Rimbunan Sawit Bhd  will undertake a series of short-to-medium term measures to beef up crop production and yield of its loss-making oil palm plantations.

Managing director Tiong Chiong Ie said the group plans to implement a recovery and rehabilitation programme to improve the conditions of these plantations.

Among the measures is the deployment of additional resources, such as machinery, equipment and human resources, to maximise fresh fruit bunch (FFB) crop recovery in the most productive blocks of the oil palm estates.

The group will upgrade, repair and carry out maintenance works on the main and field roads to facilitate accessibility to and from the plantations.

To attract more workers to its plantations, Tiong said Rimbuan Sawit would establish attractive field work piece rates plus incentives, as well as refurbish or renovate the existing workers’ quarters to upgrade their amenities and facilities or construct new workers’ accommodation.

Rimbunan Sawit group owns 16 oil palm estates in Kuching, Sibu and Miri with a total planted area of 42,478ha, representing about 60.76% of the group’s total landbank of 69,909ha.

As at Dec 31, 2022, about 49% or 20,849 ha of the oil palms were in prime mature age cluster (eight to 19 years), 17,794ha or nearly 42% were old mature (over 20 years), 1,259 ha (young mature) and 2,576 ha (immature).

The group also owns and operates three palm oil mills.

Via wholly-owned subsidiaries R.H. Plantations Sdn Bhd and Jayamax Plantation Sdn Bhd, Rimbunan Sawit has entered into sales and purchase agreements with Mahawangsa Sungai Bok Plantation Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Hua Seng Plantation Sdn Bhd) (MSBPSB) to dispose of two loss-making oil palm plantations known as the Selangor Estate and Jayamax Estate in Miri Division, northern Sarawak for a total of RM165mil in cash.

The Selangor Estate covers 4,857ha and Jayamax Estate 5,077.66ha, which also include buildings.

In a circular to shareholders on the proposed disposal of the Selangor Estate and Jayamax Estate, Tiong said besides these two estates, the group has other loss-making oil palm plantations.

However, he did not disclose the number and size.

Rimbunan Sawit shareholders will vote on the proposed disposals at an EGM on April 8.

According to Tiong, the Selangor Estate and Jayamax Estate had been loss-making for three consecutive financial years up to 2022.

This was mainly because of shortage of oil palm harvesters as a result of travel restrictions and border closures imposed by the federal government to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, as well as adverse weather conditions arising from the El Nino phenomenon in 2020.

This, he pointed out, had resulted in low FFB production and yield of the estates.

As both the Selangor Estate and Jayamax Estate are located at the boundary of the group’s oil palm estates in Miri, Tiong said their disposals are expected to cause minimal disruption to the operations of the group’s other oil palm estates within the region.

“Furthermore, given that the Selangor Estate and Jayamax Estate are adjacent to each other, disposing them together would enable MSBPSB to achieve economies of scale by operating the Selangor Estate and Jayamax Estate together,” he added.

The sales of the Selangor Estate and Jayamax Estate would reduce Rimbunan Sawit group ‘s total planted landbank by 17.99% or 7,643 ha.

Rimbunan Sawit group had suffered net losses for five consecutive years to 2022 but the losses had been reduced substantially from RM148.7mil in 2018 (revenue: RM338.7mil) to RM62.8mil (RM284.7mil) in 2019, to RM56.1mil (RM385.5mil) in 2020,to RM6.98mil (RM541.5mil) in 2021 and RM5.8mil (675.9mil) in 2022.

In 2023, the group made a turnaround and returned to the black with profit of RM24.5mil on revenue of RM507.8mil.

Tiong said the proposed disposals of the Selangor Estate and Jayamax Estate represents an opportunity for the group to unlock the value at a premium to their respective market value.

The group is expected to record a pro forma gain on disposal of about RM77.94mil.

From the proceeds of the sales, he said the money would be utilised for partial repayment of the group’s interest-bearing borrowings of about RM86.11mil.

This is expected to result in an interest cost savings of about RM3.99mil per annum and lower the group’s gearing level to 0.61 times from 0.99 times.

“In addition, part of the proceeds of the proposed disposals will be channelled towards the group’s business operations, as it will be utilised to fund new planting and replanting of oil palms. In that regard, the group will be able to conserve its internally generated funds to strengthen its financial position.”Going forward, Tiong said the group will seek opportunities to replenish and expand its plantation assets.

“The group takes cognisance that the foreign worker availability in Malaysia is gradually improving and expects healthy soil moisture conditions and lower-flooding disruptions to support output of its palm oil products, which bodes well for the performance of its oil palm estates in the longer term.

“Furthermore, with expectations of firmer palm oil prices and greater demand of palm oil products from the market, coupled with the group’s continuous efforts to optimise its operations and costs to drive greater efficiency and productivity, the group is cautiously optimistic on the outlook of the oil palm plantation segment as well as the financial performance of the group,” he added.


Sumber : The Star

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT: Malaysian rubber company, Thung Yai Rubber Co. Ltd, is hopeful that the Thai government will consider allowing natural rubber producers to import raw rubber from sources beyond the country.

Director Steven Te of Thung Yai said currently there is a supply shortage and the company is facing difficulties in getting supply of rubber from plantations.

"The supply shortage issue, could be due to the current hot season and influenced by rubber prices," he said here today.

Te mentioned that in order to secure the supply of raw rubber, the company is forced to pay higher prices since the import of raw rubber is prohibited in Thailand.

He expressed hope that this issue can be addressed during future bilateral meetings between the leaders of the two countries.

Te added that the natural rubber produced by the factory is mainly used domestically, with exports to China, Europe, and Middle Eastern countries.

"Our production capacity is estimated at 4,000 tonnes per month to supply STR10, STR20 and STR Mixtures Rubber," he said.

Thung Yai Rubber, a joint venture involving companies from Malaysia, China, and Thailand, is headquartered here and maintains an office in Songkhla, Southern Thailand.

Earlier today, Malaysia’s Ambassador to Thailand, Datuk Jojie Samuel, along with the Consul General of Malaysia in Songkhla, Ahmad Fahmi Ahmad Sarkawi, visited the rubber factory located on Tahan Chang Road.

Jojie stated that Thung Yai Rubber is a well-established rubber factory that has been operating here since 1998.

"We always wanted to hear from the Malaysian business owners on their investment, potential expansion and also challenges in doing business here.

"We are also ready to assist them in anyway we could to help them expand their business," he said. - Bernama


Sumber : The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The oil palm industry is facing problems or being affected after the government froze the hiring quota of foreign workers due to the surplus of foreign workers which actually applies for the manufacturing and service sectors.

Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said the oil palm industry still depends about 75 per cent on foreign workers.

"For example, every eight hectares of oil palm is managed by one worker. So if there are 1,000 hectares, about 125 workers are required and of that number, 75 per cent are foreign workers.

"He said the oil palm industry lacks almost 40,000 workers, mostly focused on the harvesting segment.

"Recently the government has frozen the quota of foreign workers because there is a surplus of foreign workers in the country. But the surplus is in fields other than plantations.

"For example, currently in the manufacturing sector we have an excess of 165,497 foreign workers, while in the service sector, we have an excess of 27,158 foreign workers. This excess of foreign workers occurred after we reopened businesses and the economy post Covid-19 whereby any company that applied for foreign workers would get approval from the ministry.

"There was a lack of coordination. Businesses take time to grow after we closed for two years, and that's what causing the excess foreign workers," he said during the question and answer session at Dewan Negara today in reply to a question from Senator Datuk Seri Zurainah Musa who asked about the efforts made to resolve the needs of about 40,000 foreign workers in the oil palm plantation sector.

Johari said  since the companies involved in the plantation sector were facing a shortage of foreign workers, a 'recalibration' was made with the excess of unemployed foreign workers offered work in the plantation sector.

"However, the plantation industry is afraid to hire (excess foreign workers) because if some of them were hired against their will, it will cause them to be deemed as forced labour," he said.

He said the ministry is currently implementing a 'pilot test' by hiring 60 young local workers to change the perception of working in the plantation.

"Mainly, we want them (local young workers) to specialise in harvesting. Harvesters are very important because if we have 100 workers in the plantation, 50 per cent are harvesters.

"So we want to train our youths via the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme. We will train them to harvest oil palm trees and call them specialist harvesters and hopefully they can earn a salary of up to RM3,000.

"I mention this because only Malaysia has such a labour problem. In Indonesia, 100 per cent of its production is local. They have harvesters who have specialised skills and some of them came here and they are the ones who harvest," he said.

Johari said the country's oil palm industry suffered losses of RM20 billion to RM30 billion following the labour shortage issue.— BERNAMA


Sumber : New Straits Times