MIRI: A meeting by Malaysia Oil Palm Board ( MPOB), Sarawak Oil Palms Bhd (SOPB) and Ta Ann Holdings Bhd (Ta Ann Group) will be held in Sibu on March 10 to finalise research collaboration to address pressing issues faced by the oil palm industry in Sarawak.

Among the issues were falling oil extraction rate ( OER) in Sarawak which has dropped further since 2014 by 1.4 per cent from 20.4 per cent to 20.1 percent in 2015 mainly as a result of various factors including the age profile.

The national palm oil extraction rate (OER) declined by 0.8 per cent to 20.46 percent in 2015 mainly due to lower quality of fresh fruit brunch (FFB) processed by the mills as reported by Malaysian Palm Oil Board in the Overview of The Malaysian Oil Palm Industry 2015 (February 2016).

Both SOPB and Ta Ann Group hope that this research collaboration will improve the productivity of FFB production in Sarawak.in the near future.

Several factors have contributed to the decrease of OER in Sarawak, including weather pattern, pest and diseases severely affecting the FFB production.

The industry also believed that reduced weevil activities could be the main cause of poor pollination and thus the poor quality FFB.

The outbreak of the tirathaba disease as well as the rat outbreak in some parts of Sarawak have also affected the FFB production in the coastal area.

In a press statement issued yesterday, SOP said an urgent and effective control measure with thorough in-depth research is needed to solve the problems.

“Sarawakian palm oil producers are very concerned with the situation and urge that quick actions be carried out to find a solution and SOPB and Ta Ann Group jointly met with Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) last year end to form a join-research collaboration address the issues faced by the industry in Sarawak.

The MPOB has in principal agreed to take the lead and collaborate with SOPB and Ta Ann Group to research and tackle the issue.