Over the past four decades, the palm oil industry in Malaysia has grown tremendously. To date, Malaysia has 4.85 million hectares of land planted with oil palm trees and contributes 37.3% of the world’s total palm oil production.
Last year, Malaysia produced 16.99 million tonnes of oil per day and it has forecast steady production in the next decade.
Today palm oil is the largest agricultural contributor to Malaysia’s Gross National Income (GNI), contributing 8% (RM 50 billion). The palm oil industry is also the largest producer of biomass, with virtually every part of the tree useful in the creation of products ranging from plywood to biofuels. Currently the majority of biomass is left in the fields as fertilizer, so there is an opportunity in much of this for higher-value added applications.
We talk to Bas Melssen, Executive Vice-President and Head of Strategic Innovation Projects, Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) about the immense opportunity that would be created by harnessing and utilizing Malaysia’s biomass.