RM40M FOR R&D

New Straits Times - - Business - DR SHARIFAH SHAHRUL RABIAH SYED ALWEE

of RM210 mil­lion and net profit of RM65 mil­lion last year and was ex­pected to record RM236 mil­lion rev­enue this year, said Sharifah.

She said among the R&D out­put that had been com­mer­cialised were plant­ing ma­te­ri­als like palm oil seeds, seedlings, clone trees, agro­nomic prod­ucts and crop pro­tec­tion prod­ucts.

FGV cur­rently holds the largest mar­ket share for seeds with 43 per cent. It ac­counted for about 20.26 mil­lion seeds out of 50.14 mil­lion sold in Malaysia last year.

Sharifah said FGV also had the largest pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of 30 mil­lion seeds a year from its three pro­duc­tion cen­tres in Jer­an­tut (Tun Razak Agri­cul­tural Ser­vices Cen­tre — the big­gest), Ulu Beli­tung (Jo­hor) and La­had Datu, Sabah.

This year, the group aims to pro­duce 25 mil­lion seeds, (priced at RM2.35 per seed), 2.1 mil­lion seedlings and one mil­lion clones.

“Five mil­lion of these seeds are for the group while the bal­ance are for lo­cal and global con­sump­tion.

“The do­mes­tic mar­ket still makes up more than 90 per cent of FGV’s seed sale and the rest is ex­ported to coun­tries in­clud­ing the Philip­pines, Thai­land and In­done­sia,” she said.

The de­mand for seeds and clone prod­ucts re­lied on re­plant­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, which was a con­tin­u­ous process and de­pended on weather con­di­tions and the com­mod­ity (crude palm oil) price, said Sharifah, adding that FGV alone was re­plant­ing 15,000ha per year.

Af­ter years of re­search, the seeds prog­eny that had been com­mer­cialised by FGV in­clude Yangambi ML161, Three-way and Yangambi GT-1, a gan­o­derma tol­er­ant seeds, she said.

“Ba­si­cally, con­sumers want more Three-way seeds, but there are lim­i­ta­tions in pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, cur­rently at two mil­lion a year due to un­avail­abil­ity of suf­fi­cient mother palm to gen­er­ate num­bers.

“Hence, the big chunk of sales was con­trib­uted by Yangambi ML161,” said Sharifah.

She said FGV R&D was also ex­pected to come out with four to five prod­ucts a year, in­clud­ing ac­tual prod­ucts and an ad­vi­sory project, and was now work­ing on drought tol­er­ance plant­ing ma­te­ri­als and ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem on some FGV plan­ta­tions.

FGV R&D will come up with the “Palm of your dream” trees for every planter — short plants, which could ease har­vest­ing and al­low longer yield­ing life span of more than 25 years, en­abling more trees to be planted per hectare, as well as fruits with higher quan­tity and qual­ity.

Nor­mal plan­ta­tion could have 136 trees per hectare, while for com­pact could have up to 148-160 per hectare.

Mean­while, FGVAT CEO Az­man Jamin said his out­fit had com­mer­cialised a unit mech­a­ni­sa­tion prod­uct, namely har­vest­ing ma­chine “can­tas”, in which 30 had been pro­duced for FASSB and an­other 30 for the open mar­ket.

The com­pany is also in the midst of fine tun­ing its mo­bile bunch catcher ma­chine and ex­pects to per­fect it by year-end for FGV’s own use be­fore of­fer­ing it to the open mar­ket. Ber­nama

Through the prod­uct com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion, some of the FASSB prof­its will be ploughed back into R&D.

The RM6 bil­lion Man­jung 5 plant has achieved its ini­tial oper­a­tion date on May 2, where for the first time its gen­er­a­tor was syn­chro­nised to the na­tional grid.

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