Mah: Explore potential of biomass industry

PUCHONG: Players in the agricultural sector should explore the biomass industry’s potential in becoming a game changer for Malaysia, both in terms of economic growth and enhancing the sustainability of the local resources, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

“This year, we are celebrating 100 years of oil palm cultivation in Malaysia, and yet we are still facing the challenges of sustainable palm oil production along its value chain.

“One way to address this issue is through the biomass initiative, which promotes resource efficiency and sustainability in the palm oil industry,” he said in his keynote address at the Malaysia biomass industry networking seminar here.

Mah said the players should be able to further develop the biomass industry and generate economic returns from the existing acreage of oil palm land, as well as mitigating the industry’s environmental impact.

He said the oil palm plantations and mills had generated about 82 million tonnes of oil palm biomass last year.

“The mills had also generated about 57.31 million tonnes of palm oil mill effluent (Pome) from processing 85.54 million tonnes of fresh fruit bunches,” he said, adding that the biogas from Pome could be used to generate power for the mills and for grid connectivity.

Taking into account the abundant availability of biomass, especially from the oil palm sector, Mah said Malaysia should take advantage of the resource and maximise its full potential by moving further downstream and creating opportunities in the high value sector.

“In this context, we must be relentless in developing and harnessing technologies and innovations to increase the value of our biomass resources, enabling the industry to become more resilient to the fluctuations in the global economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mah also announced the extension of deadline for the submission of entries for the International Competition on Oil Palm Mechanism (ICOPM) to June 30 from May 12, due to overwhelming response from the investors.

ICOPM is a competition aimed at inviting innovative and new ideas towards producing practical, cost-effective and field-ready innovations in oil palm mechanisation, as well as reducing dependency on labour and lowering production cost. – Bernama

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