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Yesterday, Genting Plantations' wholly-owned subsidiary, ACGT Sdn Bhd, signed a collaborative agreement with the US chemical giant for the transfer of technology used for the corn and soybean crops, which will then be applied to oil palm.
DuPont Malaysia managing director Ong Ewe Hock confirmed that the company had seen significant improvements to the corn and soybean crops in terms of productivity. “DuPont will transfer specific innovation to ACGT, which will then customise it to suit their approach on oil palm plant selection and production technologies,” he said.
DuPont has a track record of increasing productivity of corn and soybean by applying science and technology to the crop.
Genting Plantations aims to improve palm oil yield by using marker-assisted selection to identify high performance oil palm breeds via subsidiaries ACGT and GGT Sdn Bhd.
“In order to have high yield, planting oil palm seedlings with natural high-yielding attributes are important. As we know, per ha of oil palm can yield an average of four tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO) a year.
“Science tells us that oil palm has the natural potential to yield at least three times more oil, that is from four tonnes to 12 tonnes of CPO per year. In simple terms, increasing the extra yield means more food, without planting more areas,” according to Genting Plantations executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay whose speech was read out by chief operating officer Yong Chee Kong.
“Under our research collaboration, DuPont Pioneer will provide guidance, expertise, systems and processes to ACGT on approaches for applying the same technologies as those used in corn and soybean for applications in oil palm. This paves the way for ACGT to introduce marker-assisted selection to improve oil palm breeding. And this will transform the palm oil industry,” said ACGT chief executive officer Derrik Khoo.
Khoo said it was quite hard to anticipate now the increase in yields that would be enabled by DuPont's technology.
The technology transfer from DuPont to ACGT would take an approximate 30 months. Thereafter, depending on the success of the transfer, only then would ACGT be able to measure the increase in yields.
Ong pointed out that the collaboration was exclusive to ACGT and Genting Plantations.
“Together, we can enable the oil palm to live up to its true potential: to serve as both food and fuel. If we can increase yield so much that we can satisfy the food requirements, the surplus can be considered for fuel,” Khoo added.
“I am pleased to see the coming together of our organisations with both having similar commitment towards developing global renewable solutions. In my opinion, this collaboration, which started with a Master Research Collaboration Agreement in August 2011, is timely considering palm oil is the world's leading edible oil, accounting for 56% and 26% of oils and fats trading and consumption respectively in 2011.
“In addition, palm oil is versatile in its use which extends to edible and non-edible applications. Oil palm biomass can also be used for materials, chemicals and fuel. As such, this collaboration clearly has a global impact and will further strengthen the industry,” Lim said in a statement.