Sime Darby Plantation in growing partnership with India’s GAVL

Flourishing venture: A file picture showing workers inspecting oil palm seedlings. Sime Darby Plantation will provide oil palm seeds to GAVL’s business unit and establish a state-of-the-art seed production facility in India.

PETALING JAYA: Sime Darby Plantation Bhd and India’s Godrej Agrovet Ltd (GAVL) will collaborate on oil palm seed supply and agricultural innovation.

The partnership will see Sime Darby Plantation providing oil palm seeds to GAVL’s business unit and subsequently establish a state-of-the-art seed production facility in India.

The intergrated plantation group planned to provide India with 1.3 million germinated seeds in 2024, sourced from its operations in three countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

“This endeavour combines Sime Darby Plantation’s cutting-edge research, development capabilities and proprietary knowledge with GAVL’s strong presence and expertise in the Indian oil palm plantation (OPP) sector,” Sime Darby Plantation wrote in the statement yesterday.

It added both parties would also explore other possible collaborations that would be of mutual benefit.

“Both companies have signed an agreement marking a pivotal step towards enhancing India’s role as a major vegetable oil producing country,” it added.

Sime Darby Plantation group managing director Datuk Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha said the collaboration highlighted the group’s dedication to exchanging expertise in the realm of sustainable agriculture.

“Together, we aim to address gaps in India’s vegetable oil industry, supply the seeds it needs and strengthen its position in the global market.

“We are thrilled to embark on this transformative journey with them,” he said.

He said innovation and sustainability are at the core of the partnership.

“We aim to deliver tangible benefits to Indian farmers while supporting India’s journey towards self-reliance in vegetable oil production,” he added.

GAVL chairman and non-executive director Nadir Godrej said the collaboration would align with the group’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and its mission to contribute to India’s self-reliance in vegetable oil production.

The group would leverage on Sime Darby Plantation’s expertise in seed supply and research, with the goal of transforming the Indian OPP sector, providing farmers with high-quality planting materials, and help meet the country’s growing demand for edible oils.

“Together, we look forward to making a lasting positive impact on India’s food security and sustainable agricultural practices,” he added.

GAVL, which has over 30 years of experience in the oil palm business, aims to expand its plantation to 125,000ha by 2027 from the existing 65,000ha.

Sime Darby Plantation is the world’s largest producer of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), with a production of 1.887 million tonnes as of Dec 31, 2022.

Vegetable oil remains a major commodity that is imported by India, reflecting the country’s demand for edible oils.

According to the statement, India is the world’s largest importer and the second largest consumer of palm oil.

With the local production of 300,000 tonnes, the country currently imports 7.5 million tonnes.

Palm oil stands out as one of the most efficient vegetable oils in terms of yield per ha of land, boasting a productivity level that is five to eight times higher than other oil crops, according to Sime Darby Plantation.

Palm oil is also known for its high oil extraction efficiency from the palm fruit, making it a highly efficient source of vegetable oil when compared to other oil crops such as soybean, sunflower or rapeseed.

“This high productivity is one of the reasons why palm oil has become a major ingredient in various food products, cosmetics, and industrial applications,” it said.

Palm olein has proven health benefits through its stability and lower absorption during food preparation.

In addition, palm fruit has also been shown to contain other beneficial nutrients and antioxidants that can be harnessed for improving wellbeing.

GAVL is a research-driven agri-business conglomerate within the larger Godrej Group which serves one billion consumers worldwide in various sectors, such as consumer goods, real estate, appliances, agriculture and more.

GAVL is committed to enhancing the productivity of Indian farmers through innovative products and services.

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