Over RM40m spent on palm oil R&D since 2016

Most of the proceeds from these R&D programmes have been transferred and shared with industry players


THE government has spent over RM40.1 million on the nation’s palm oil research and development (R&D) programmes between 2016 and September this year.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok (picture), in a parliamentary written reply, said most of the proceeds from these R&D programmes have been transferred and shared with industry players.

In turn, Kok said it has increased industry players’ income and contributed to the influx of foreign and domestic investments.

She added that her ministry, through the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), is focusing on R&D to produce quality crop material to improve palm yield.

“In this regard, new breeds — with high potential for seed research and tissue culture clones capable of producing six to 10 tonnes of oil per hectare each year — have been introduced.

“MPOB is also in the final phase of research on the production of plant material with targeted features such as softness, long bunches and disease resistance. This quality plant material will be used to replace less productive crops and increase the country’s oil palm production, as well as the income of oil palm growers,” Kok said.

She also highlighted that a comprehensive contamination filtering mechanism, the “SureSawit” diagnostic kit, has been developed and used to assure the quality of the plant material produced. This kit can detect plant contamination at the nursery level and as early as before germination.

MPOB is also actively conducting R&D to improve the efficiency of palm oil processing on quality and safety of the produced palm products.

“The government has provided research funds to help industry players reduce 3-MCPDE formation through field studies involving selected palm oil mills, refineries and technology providers that will optimise palm oil processing to achieve low 3-MCPDE levels,” she said.

To develop the downstream sector, Kok said R&D activities are focused on the production of new products and are adding value to downstream products. Among them are the applications of palm biodiesel in the industrial and automotive sectors.

To date, MPOB has been successful on the B10 biodiesel blends (10% blend of palm biodiesel and 90% petroleum diesel) for the transport sector and B7 for the industrial sector

“Studies are underway for higher blending, up to B30, involving collaboration with universities in Malaysia, China and Japan. This programme is one of the steps to stabilise stock and palm oil prices.

“In addition, clinical research studies on the consumption of palm oil, red palm oil, as well as palm phytonutrients in particular vitamin E tocotrienols to assess the effect on health, is also in progress,” she said.

Kok added that the study results can support the promotion of palm oil, red palm oil and vitamin E to be tocotrienols as a product which has high antioxidant content and offers numerous health benefits.