Oil palm industry is second major contributor to Sarawak’s economy, after oil and gas

STROPI director Dr Lulie Melling accompanying Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg visiting STROPI laboratory. -dayakdaily.com

KOTA SAMARAHAN: Oil palm industry has become the second top contributor to the Sarawak economy, after oil and gas, Sarawak Tropical Research Institute (STROPI) director Dr Lulie Melling said today.

“The revenue from oil palm exports stands at RM12 billion in 2016 and has overtaken timber’s contribution at RM5 billion,” she said in her speech at the Hari Raya -Gawai Dayak closing ceremony at the Sarawak Tropical Research Institute (STROPI) here.

She said oil palm contributes to about 90 per cent of Sarawak’s agriculture export value.

“Maximising our land usage has also allowed for greater employment levels thereby increasing our income per capita and I foresee this to continue,” she added.

Today, she said, about 700,000 hectares of the peat land in Sarawak has been successfully utilised for the purposes of oil palm plantations and sago.

Lulie said with good agriculture practices of oil palm industry for sustainable management of peat land, the state also has some environmental benefit spin-off.

She said most important is the successful eradication of peat fires, and thus, there was no haze throughout the state.

“This expertise has been shared among our nation and neighbours, such as Indonesia. This is seen in the success story of Sarawak being spared from the peat fire disaster caused by El Nino two years ago.

“Such are a few use of benefits of the use of scientific research for our greater good,” Lullie said.

She said Sarawak has about 1.6 million hectares of peat land or about 13 per cent of the state’s land mass.

Lulie said peat land is a large resources from which much benefit can be derived by making it into a productive asset rather than allowing it to remain as wasteland.

She said STROPI has to do more research and publication of scientific research papers, event host scientific forums.-dayakdaily.com