By BERNAMA / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
Oil palm smallholders have been urged to diversify their income through the use of oil palm trunk (OPT) which has the potential to become an alternative raw material for the furniture industry, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong (picture).
He said the trunks could generate additional income for farmers as about 18 million OPTs are produced every year through replanting exercise.
He said matured OPTs resulting from replanting efforts are in good condition and have the potential to be turned into raw materials to meet the demands of the timber industry.
“For instance, 136 OPTs are produced through the replanting of one hectare of plantation.
“Thus, OPT can generate additional income for the farmers as it has the potential to become a new alternative for plywood,” he told a press conference after officiating the Third Fibre and Biocomposite Development Centre (FIDEC 3) yesterday.
FIDEC undertakes research and development, as well as commercialisation activities for high value-added biocomposite products, and of fers furniture test ing services.
Mah noted that OPT should be utilised and turned into raw materials as any trunk left to decay could produce carbon emissions in the long run, thus becoming a breeding ground for diseases.
He said the timber industry is facing a shortage of raw materials and the use of OPT could address this issue, by developing them into palm trunk-based products, especially into furniture, wood panel and wood.
Mah said as of now, only four companies are using OPT as raw material for making furniture and exports to countries like Iran, Turkey and Mexico.