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Association to hold seminar on palm oil diseases

Saturday, 26 May 2012

KUCHING: Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (Soppoa) will hold a seminar on Ganoderma, Exotic and Other Emerging Diseases of Oil Palm in Malaysia on July 9-10 in Miri for the benefit of all planters in the state.

The workshop (including a field trip) is jointly organised by Soppoa, Malaysian Palm Oil Association (Mpoa) Sarawak and Malaysian Palm Oil Board (Mpob) to provide the latest findings on Ganoderma and other emerging diseases as well as a visit to an oil palm estate for close up look into the effects of disease on the trees.

“Ganoderma is a disease which causes basal stem rot and can be devastating to plantations and estates,” said Soppoa vice chairman Paul Wong.

According to Mpob, some 40,000ha of oil palm in Malaysia have been affected by this fungi.

“In addition to the attack on the trees by shortening their lifespan, the disease also causes reduction in the bunch number and weight of fruit bunches and also attacks younger palms which can seriously affect production of palm,” said Wong.

Sarawak currently has over 1.1 million hectares planted under oil palm and in 2010 crude palm oil (CPO) production was 2,179,601 tonnes and crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) was 458,805 tonnes which contributed RM266,880,955 in tax revenue to the state.

“Previously, Ganoderma was perceived to only attack older palms but recent studies show that it also attacks younger trees of one to two years replanting. If left unchecked, it can cause severe devastation to the industry and economic losses as well as disruption to palm oil supply to the world market as Malaysia is the second largest producer in the world today,” said Wong.

These new diseases could be disastrous to the country, as the industry here has no expertise and experience to control their spread.

Hence, there is a need for the government and the industry to work together to ensure that the industry continues to flourish as it is both a poverty eradicating industry and good revenue earner for the country which benefits the whole spectrum of employees in numerous industries directly and indirectly related to oil palm.

For more information and participation in the seminar, all those interested can contact Soppoa at 082-236872 or email: soppoa@gmail.com for registration forms. The closing date for registration is June 22.

The registration fees are RM130 (RM80 for seminar RM50 for transport, lunch) for Soppoa and Mpoa members and RM230 (RM150 for seminar, RM80 for transport, lunch) for non-members.

Taken from The Borneo Post