KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — The local oil palm industry has witnessed remarkable growth and transformation over the past few decades, driven by cutting-edge technologies and innovations developed by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and palm oil industry players in promoting sustainable production practices and increasing oil palm yields.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said Malaysia has made significant strides in breeding and biotechnology research, resulting in successfully developing clonal palm series and genome programmes aimed at enhancing yields and reducing contamination risks.

Fadillah, who is also the Minister of Plantation and Commodities said, notably, mechanisation has revolutionised tasks like harvesting and improved plantation management efficiency.

“I am proud to say that Malaysia has achieved significant milestones by successfully sequencing the oil palm genome leading to groundbreaking discoveries that enhance the efficiency of oil palm breeding practices.

“Other research collaborations that have produced scientific breakthroughs include the nutritional properties within the food industry, pharmaceutical and health supplements industry,” he said in his keynote address at the MPOB International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition 2023 (PIPOC 2023) here, today.

Meanwhile, Fadillah said, since the 1980s, Malaysia has committed to adopting sustainable energy, pioneering the development of palm-based biodiesel technology, contributing to environmental sustainability, and energy efficiency.

“In 2021, the government, in collaboration with MPOB, established the Mechanisation and Automation Research Consortium of Oil Palm, focusing on harnessing cutting-edge mechanisation and automation technologies to address labour shortages within oil palm plantations and promoting a more automated and productive future,” he said.

In addition, to spur innovation, the government has announced tax incentives for automation to encourage industry players to invest in mechanisation and automation.

He said the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification scheme complements sustainability goals and has gained global recognition.

“The MSPO certification scheme was adopted for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games Sustainable Sourcing Code, (during which) Japan had sourced for MSPO-certified products.

“The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan accepted the MSPO certification scheme for renewable energy, and Panpan Foods promoted MSPO at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics,” he said.

Therefore, Fadillah said it is imperative for the oil palm industry to elevate productivity through innovative technologies while upholding environmental sustainability, aligning with the Madani Economy framework.

PIPOC 2023, the world’s largest palm oil congress and exhibition was officiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

PIPOC, a biennial event organised by MPOB, encompasses four concurrent conferences and is one of the largest exhibitions showcasing the latest technologies, innovations, products and services in the palm oil industry.

This year’s theme, ‘Navigating Uncertainties, Building Resilience,’ is particularly relevant given the persistent global uncertainties that prompt Malaysia to reassess its strategies and approaches in how the country operates. — Bernama