SANDAKAN, March 11 — Sabah remains a significant regional palm oil producer and continues to feed global demands, ensuring livelihood and shared prosperity for all Sabahans, said Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) chief executive officer Joseph Tek
He said Sabah produced 23.3 per cent of Malaysia’s crude palm oil (CPO) last year, generating 4.29 million tonnes from its landbank of 1.51 million hectares of planted oil palm area.
“However, the crop yield declined by 2.4 per cent year-on-year to 15.4 tonnes per hectare per year, and the oil and kernel extraction rates (OER and KER) also declined by 1.5 per cent to 20.25 per cent and 0.9 per cent to 4.47 per cent, respectively.
“Despite the challenges, MPOA expressed its gratitude to the Sabah government for its continued support and cooperation with the oil palm industry in Sabah,” he said at the MPOA Sabah branch’s annual general meeting (AGM) here, today.
When met by reporters, Tek said the global palm oil industry was expected to face tighter CPO availability this year due to several factors, including only a potential marginal increase in CPO output from both top producing countries Malaysia and Indonesia by less than 3 per cent, respectively.
“In Malaysia, CPO production is expected to be impacted by the current heavy rainfall and floods in parts of Malaysia affecting oil palm estates, which will constrict palm oil production in the near future because of short-term disruptions to estate harvesting operation, logistics and poorer fruit-set.”
“The last three years of La Nina have caused significant damage to oil palm root systems, which may take time to recover even as the application of rooting fertilisers is ongoing,” he said.
As a result, Tek said typical fresh fruit bunches (FFB) might be smaller in size, have lesser oil content, and have uneven fruit sets arising from parthenocarpy and leading to ‘porcupine’ looking bunches.
He also said the rising number of over-aged and very tall oil palm trees in Malaysia would also continue to constrain supply as replanting has been slow due to high costs.
“On a positive note, labour woes among many planters have eased following strides by authorities in facilitating the return of more foreign workers. Normalcy is expected among many planters by mid of this year,” he said. — Bernama