Tropi can count on Ministry of Primary Industries for help, assures sec-gen

Lulie presenting a souvenir to Tan after giving him an extensive briefing about Tropi.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 28: The Ministry of Primary Industries is committed to helping and supporting Sarawak Tropical Peat Research Institute (Tropi) in its works toward ensuring the sustainable development of the oil palm industry.

The ministry’s secretary-general, Dato Dr Tan Yew Chong, said the palm oil industry is a major contributor to the development of the country’s economy.

“As such, there is a need to give emphasis to this (state and federal collaborative) initiative as well,” he told reporters after a lengthy meeting and discussion with Tropi director Dr Lulie Melling at the institute in Kota Samarahan today.

Tan (at head table, left) being given a briefing by Lulie (seated to his left) about Tropi.

“In the meeting, we discussed the need to strengthen our working relationship through research and joint involvement in order to find holistic solutions to protect our oil palm industry.”

Tan added that the meeting was fruitful as it was vital for the relevant parties to sit down together to discuss and build a greater understanding of the needs and find solutions for the development of the palm oil industry in Sarawak and Malaysia, as a whole.

On the federal budget for Tropi, he assured that his ministry would always provide the assistance but currently, there was a need to work on the documentation so it would be comprehensive with enough details.

“I was made to understand that Tropi required at least RM3 million per year. We can sit down together to talk about this again.

“It will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but we continue with the existing arrangement first because we want the research to be recognised by all important parties, including international organisations. Research must be able to bring benefits to all parties,” he added.

On the state budget, Lulie explained that the funding was given based on a project by taking into account the available resource capacity, including human capital.

“We need to think of the capacity because research requires passionate people who are willing and committed to work the long hours and sacrifice their time,” she pointed out.

Nevertheless, she added that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had at the end of last year allocated RM5 million for Tropi to fund their scientific research for the next two years.

Tropi has been acclaimed for its outstanding research work, so much so that even neighbouring countries like Indonesia recognised Sarawak through Tropi, which has played a crucial role in ensuring the higher production of oil palm on tropical peatland. — DayakDaily