Oil palm the main crop

UPM V-C Dr Radin Umar hopes the collaboration between UMB and the university would be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.

THE involvement of industries in research and development is very crucial in contributing to the advancement of knowledge and technology.

They can contribute in terms of grants, provide industrial training and at the same time, invest in universities’ innovative products and technology.

Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi said a professorial chair in Oil Palm Plantation Management will be set up under a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed between United Malacca Berhad (UMB) and the university.

“UMB is generously providing an endowment fund amounting to RM2mil to support the activities of this professorial chair.

“This (professorial chair) will also promote research and development in oil palm plantation management for the enhancement of and value add to the oil palm and palm oil industries in Malaysia and globally and any other area of research mutually agreed by both parties,” he said in his speech at the signing of the MoA.

The objectives of the agreement, apart from collaborating in the promotion of research and development in oil palm plantation management, will als o include the cooperation and collaboration of both si des. Dr Radin Umar said the UMB effort is commendable and should be emulated by other industry players as this would intensify research and development.

“Commodities have always been the main stay of the Malaysian economy.

“From the earliest days, it has been rubber and tin, and now palm oil is the pre-eminent agriculture commodity sector.

“The palm oil industry is a significant contributor to the Malaysian economy with over 4.9 million hectares of planted area,” he said.

The industry, he added, has experienced steady growth over the years with exciting developments for potential growth in the downstream sector.

“There are a number of pertinent issues facing the sector to day. They include improving productivity including t hat of planting mat erials, plant health, tackling labour shortage and ensuring sustainability,” he said.

Research should be conducted in finding better solutions to overcome the various problems in the industry, such as the bunches of fruits rotting in the fields because of a lack of workers to harvest them and the need for replanting.

Dr Radin Umar said UPM will continue to play a leading role in the “agriculture agenda”.

“Agriculture and the related science will continue to be UPM’s niche area.

“The importance of research is no longer confined to just producing papers but more importantly, its impact on bringing benefits to the people through new methods and technology and commercialisation,” he said.

Dr Radin Umar said UPM was happy to enter into strategic partnerships with government agencies and industries both locally and globally.

“I take this opportunity to congratulate United Malacca Berhad on this collaboration. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship,” he added.

Related Story: World class R&D

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