Seize opportunities in biomass sector - Mohd Shafie
Last Update: 14/10/2019
KOTA KINABALU, Oct 14 -- Palm oil industry players in Sabah have been urged to seize value-added opportunities in the biomass sector to boost Sabah’s industrialisation efforts.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the state’s palm oil and forestry industries produce 60 million tonnes and 1.4 million cubic metres of biomass, respectively -- all of which can be processed into value-added products.
He said biomass-based biochemicals is a multi-billion ringgit industry and are in demand for various industrial applications.
“The studies are encouraging, the numbers are impressive and the market is enormous. The technologies are all there, ready for commercialisation,” he said in a speech at the opening of the one-day Sabah International Biomass Forum here, today.
His speech was read by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, who is also the State Minister of Trade and Industry.
The forum was jointly organised by Malaysia’s National Innovation Agency (AIM) -- a unit under the Prime Minister’s Department tasked with implementing the National Biomass Strategy (NBS) 2020 -- and state-owned Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) Sabah Sdn Bhd.
Shafie said the state is committed towards achieving an industrialised status by 2030.
"As the Sabah government seeks to expand the manufacturing sector and transform into an industrialised state by 2030, we want to see more investments in timber and palm biomass," he said, adding that the materials can be used in making value-added products such as pulp and paper.
Mohd Shafie said POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd has dedicated a lot of resources to promote the development of a biomass downstream industry.
He said this includes encouraging palm oil industry players to agree to sell their biomass over long term and at pre-determined prices.
"When that didn’t work, POIC had set up a platform that combined biomass owners, technology providers and off-takers. That didn’t work either.
"Now POIC has set up a satellite biomass collection centres. This is to ensure that investors in the biomass downstream industry are assured of a steady and long-term supply," he said.
He added that according to the NBS 2020 launched in 2011, Malaysia’s biomass sector is capable of generating a progressive gross national income (GNI) of RM30 billion by 2020, and create 60,000 jobs.
Mohd Shafie said the NBS identified Sabah as the national hub for the second generation biofuel, based on the strength of the state’s palm oil industry, which boasts of 1.6 million hectares of oil palm plantation.
Speaking to reporters after the event, Wilfred Madius said the forum, which involved biomass experts, investors and financial sectors, was important to boost investments in the biomass sector, adding that a new approach must be taken to attract interested parties to ensure the sector’s success.