KOTA KINABALU: A new oil palm clone dubbed Wakuba oil palm ramet brand was launched with a promise of doubling the current oil yield.
Named after TSH Resources Bhd unit TSH Biotech Sdn Bhd’s five-year-old tissue-culture laboratory in Wakuba Gading, Tawau, Sabah, the new clone promises an oil yield of up to 10 tonnes per ha compared with the average current yield of about 4.5 tonnes per ha in the country.
TSH Resources chairman Datuk Kelvin Tan said the company had invested RM25mil in the laboratory, which is expected to produce 1.5 million ramets by 2015 compared with 500,000 this year.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok launched the product in conjunction with the 2010 National Seminar on Palm Oil Milling, Refining, Environment and Quality here yesterday.
Dompok also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and TSH Resources.
MPOB was represented by its director-general Datuk Dr Mohd BasriWahid and TSH Resources by Tan.
The new MOA extends the technical collaboration on genetic marking to further improve efficiency and quality of ramets produced at the laboratory.
Tan said the project was initiated in 2005 between TSH Biotech’s laboratory and MPOB with technology transfer from MPOB to clone elite palm trees as part of of public and private sector initiative.
“We know that there is less land available in Sabah for oil palm so, we have to increase yield through technology,” Tan said.
Based on MPOB statistics, 1.1 million ha of the 1.4 million ha planted with oil palm in Sabah are now mature, indicating potential for high-yield Wakuba clones to replace ageing palms.
This collaboration will allow superior oil palm materials to be available especially to smallholders and plantations in Sabah.
At the current crude palm oil price, a smallholder with 6ha can potentially earn an incremental income of RM30,000 a year using cloned shoots, Tan added.
Meanwhile, Basri described the synergy between the two parties and success of Wakuba ramets as a landmark achievement for the clonal industry.
Commercialisation was an important element in research and development as this was where the concept of bench-to-market came into fruition, Basri said.
Dompok said the collaboration between MPOB and TSH Resources in setting up tissue culture lab was a success in the development and production of palm clones.
The achievement in oil palm breeding and biotechnology in producing high quality material would boost industry productivity and quality of palm oil products, he added.
Dompok also launched the TKJ organic fertiliser that is formulated using refinery waste which has potential to enhance soil fertility, promotes plant growth and improve yield and crop quality.
The high grade fertiliser was produced in a collaboration between MPOB and MPV Technologies.