Malaysian Palm Oil Board wants closer ties with private sector

Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) pledges closer co-operation with the private sector to boost the current technology commercialisation rate of 20 per cent.

This step in the right direction is in response to oil palm planters’ complaints that they are not receiving just return on the cess paid to MPOB for research.

All oil palm planters via millers pay cess of RM7 per tonne of oil to MPOB for research and another RM2 per tonne to fund licensing activities.

When asked to comment on MPOB’s research work, chairman Datuk Sabri Ahmad said the government agency’s technology commercialisation rate stands at 20 per cent, four times higher than local universities.
“Last year, out of 34 research and development (R&D) projects, four were adopted and five commercialised,” he told Business Times in an interview in Petaling Jaya.

“Still, we need to bring up the success rate by engaging in closer collaboration with companies in the private sector,” he said.

He plans for MPOB to be more engaging with the private sector.

“We will aim for more win-win collaboration to reduce duplication and improve on efficiency,” he said.

Among big names partnering MPOB scientists are Sime Darby Bhd, Asiatic Centre for Genome Technology Sdn Bhd (Genting Group’s research arm), Brandies University in the US, Johor-based JC Chang Group and CB Industrial Product Bhd.

On export of MPOB’s technologies, Sabri said while this role is usually undertaken by big companies, there had also been mid-sized enterprises that leverage on these opportunities.

He named Lipochem Sdn Bhd, a licensee to commercialise MPOB’s know-how in designing and constructing biodiesel plants.

Having built a handful in Malaysia, process engineer Lipochem had, in the last couple of years, ventured out to South Korea and Indonesia.

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