The Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (SOPPOA) will collaborate with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), to conduct research on ganoderma, its secretary Philip Ho said today. Ganoderma is an emerging disease that is starting to affect oil palm plantations in the state on a small scale.
It is a fungi-based threat, which causes basal stem rot by attacking trees and shortening their lifespan, while reducing the bunch numbers and weight of fruit bunches.
The disease also attacks younger palms which can seriously affect the production of palm oil.
He said SOPPOA would provide the infrastructure while MPOB had the funds and expertise in terms of planters and researchers, to share information on the disease while tackling its spread.
“We are always working closely with the MPOB and other related bodies to benefit the industry as a whole, particularly in addressing the spread of ganoderma in Sarawak, which is not alarming at the moment and can be managed,” he told Bernama here.
According to the MPOB, some 40,000 hectares of oil palm in Malaysia, mostly in the Peninsular, have been affected by ganoderma.
Ho said Sarawak currently had over 1.1 million hectares planted under oil palm, with 2,179,601 tonnes of crude palm oil production and 458,805 tonnes of crude palm kernel oil in 2010, which contributed RM266,880,955 in tax revenue to the state.
Based on the experience in the Peninsular, plantations that are now in the process of replanting in Sarawak, would be the most susceptible to the disease, he added.
As part of efforts to provide updates on the latest findings on ganoderma and other emerging diseases, he said a seminar on “Ganoderma, Exotic and Other Emerging Diseases of Oil Palm in Malaysia” is being organised for the benefit of all planters in Sarawak from July 9-10 this year in Miri.
The one-and-a-half day workshop, including a field trip, is jointly organised by SOPPOA, the Malaysian Palm Oil Association-Sarawak and MPOB to share insights with participants on the potential threats to the palm oil industry from other emerging exotic diseases.
The new diseases, primarily brought in from Latin America and African countries, can be disastrous to the country as the industry here had no expertise and experience to control the spread.
Ho said there was a need for the government and industry to work together to ensure that it continued to flourish as it concerned poverty eradication and was a revenue earner for the country.
“It also economically benefits the whole spectrum of employees in numerous industries directly and indirectly related to oil palm,” he added.
For more information and participation in the seminar, those interested can contact SOPPOA at 082-236872 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for registration forms.
The closing date for registration is June 22.
Taken from www.mpob.gov.my