KUCHING: Sarawak Plantation Bhd has further expanded its oil palm estate with some 1,800ha planted last year, said its chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi.
He said the newly cultivated palms were expected to start yielding fruits in 2017.
Sarawak Plantation, via wholly-owned subsidiary Sarawak Plantation Agriculture Development Sdn Bhd (SPAD), owns 16 oil palm estates with total planted area expanded to 31,231ha at end-2014.
In addition, the group had developed 1,855ha of native customary rights (NCR) land with oil palms about 15 years ago.
Abdul Hamed said about 45% of the group’s oil palms were either immature or young mature (less than 10 years of age).
Reviewing Sarawak Plantation’s performance in 2014, he said the group produced 289,076 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) last year, down from 309,218 tonnes in 2013 while the yield had dropped to 11.6 tonne per ha from 12.37 tonnes per ha during the same period.
“The lower volume was mainly due to 2014 being a low cropping year coupled with replanting activities,” he added in the company’s newly released 2014 annual report.
Abdul Hamed said the group achieved marginal higher oil extraction rate of 20.88% last year from 20.87% in 2013, and this was higher than Sarawak’s average of 20.43%. Kernel extraction rate rose to 4.49% from 4.48%.
He said the group’s two palm oil mills increased the processing of FFB by 3.6% to 678,789 tonnes last year from 655,401 in 2013.
“Output of crude palm oil (CPO) was 141,742 tonnes and palm kernel 30,493 tonnes, increases of 3.6% and 3.8% respectively principally due to increase in purchases of FFB from external parties.
“Our on-going smart partnership between plantations and mills continue to improve the quality of FFB delivered from our plantations. Combined with aggressive outsourcing of FFB from small producers,they enabled us to set new records for processing of FFB and production of CPO and palm kernel for 2014,” he added.
Abdul Hamed said the group had placed greater emphasis on estate mechanisation,not only through expenditure on existing mechanisation technologies but also through encouraging its research and development team to partner engineers and technicians in the field to experiment and innovate.
Such partnership, he said, had resulted in the testing of design and improvement and modifications for several equipments.
He said the electronic estate management system implemented in all the group’s oil palm estates become fully operational in all units last year.
The system acts as a monitoring tool to enable the management to focus on checking the operations at various levels.
Abdul Hamed said Sarawak Plantation training centre set up to providing subsidised training to young people keen to take up jobs in the oil palm industry had produced its first batch of 30 apprentices who had graduated and awarded with Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia Level 3.
For financial year ended Dec 31, 2014, Sarawak Plantation recorded a 8% increase in group revenue to RM390mil from RM362mil in 2013 while group’s pre-tax profit jumped by 56% to RM70mil from RM45mil.
Abdul Hamed attributed the improved earnings to higher realised average selling price of CPO and palm kernel,coupled with increase in CPO sale volume.