Best Management Practices To Plant Oil Palm On Peat Soil On The CardsAuthor: Admin | Filed under: Palm Oil Environment
20 January, 2011
Sarawak plans to come up with its own Best Management Practices for oil palm cultivation in peat soil, says Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners’ Association chairman Datuk Abdul Hamed (rpt Hamed) Sepawi.
“Peat soil is a new territory for our oil palm planters who have been growing the crop on mineral soil so far.
“Therefore, we need to have our own standard operations procedures to ensure sustainability, environment preservation, higher productivity and profitability,” he told reporters after presenting a paper at a forum themed “Sustainable Oil Palm Development On Peat Soil” for about 70 planters and investors in the state.
Hamed said the association would work closely with the state government, local experts, Malaysian Palm Oil Board and the Indonesian Soil Research Institute to exchange information and expertise.
Sarawak has some 1.6 million hectares of peat soil, the country’s biggest with a cumulative total of 2.7 million hectares.
Currently, about 480,000 hectares of peat soil in Sarawak have been planted with oil palm out of the 750,000 hectares proposed, Hamed said.
With good management practices, a hectare in matured peat soil area could yield an average 25 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches (FFB), he said.
“This will mean a lot to the state income if all the 750,000 hectares are planted with the crop,” he said.
Hamed said the projected FFB production would then be 18.75 million metric tonnes with the current FFB price at RM700 per tonne.
“Hence, we are looking at a revenue of about RM13 billion while the potential crude palm oil production CPO production will be about 4,125,000 metric tonnes,” he said.
“Hence, oil palm is the logical new frontier. If we can create the critical biomass, we can have more downstream industries and develop to greater heights our palm-oleo industry.
“In doing so, we can have the impetus to generate more jobs and business opportunities,” he said.
On more Native Customary Rights (NCR) land being used to plant oil palm, either by the owners or through joint ventures with investors, Hamed said this was a good sign.
He said initially when the industry was started through government agencies like Felda, Felcra, Salcra and other land development authorities, it was to eradicate poverty among rural folk.
There are an estimated 1.5 million hectares of NCR land in the state and a significant size has been developed, he said.
“But with greater political will and landowners’ cooperation, more NCR land be developed in the owners’ interest, the state and the country,” he added.