The Star. Malaysian conglomerate Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd has launched its first commercial clonal oil palm, ABB1, which has the potential to enhance production yields by 30% compared with current seedling materials.
Guthrie Biotech Laboratory, a wholly-owned subsidiary, produced the clonal oil palm.
While the most successful commercial oil palm oil plantations yield some six metric tons of oil per hectare, the Guthrie palms promise up to nine metric tons.
“Biotechnology is the only means to achieve maximum yield potential from oil palm without area expansion. Guthrie started the intensive biotech and research and development (R&D) more than eight years ago and we have had success in developing an efficient and commercially-viable clonal palm production system,” [GBLSB general manager Dr Hamidah Musa] said at the launching. [She] said that the company was gearing up for semi-commercial planting of AAB1 clonal plantlets in the first quarter of 2006 and was focusing on a downstream strategy to exploit innovative technologies in this field.
Palm oil is increasingly being looked to as a feedstock for biodiesel production, and some analysts are bullish on the market prospects for Malaysia.
Guthrie owns and operates 55 oil palm estates in Malaysia, totalling 104,749 hectares and 14 palm oil mills, with the bulk of the oil palm estates located in Peninsular Malaysia while three oil palm estates totalling 4,498 hectares are in Sabah.
In Indonesia, Guthrie owns and operates 53 plantation estates and 14 palm oil mills in Indonesia through PT Minamas Gemilang, PT Anugerah Sumbermakmur and PT Guthrie Pecconina Indonesia.