I have just read this. The Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB) is hooking up with the Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (SOPPOA) to figure out what is going wrong with palm oil production in Sarawak. Amongst other issues, members of SOPPOA have been complaining of: “oil palm estates (having a) …. serious infestation of Tirabatha (a moth of the pest variety), particularly in the lower Baram and central coastal regions, poor fruit set, bunch failures, lower frond dessication and acid sulphate soil problems”. The lower Baram and coastal regions are mostly peatlands. Acid sulphate soils result from the draining, oxidation and resultant subsidence of peat, exposing the underlying acid sulphate soils. It’s not rocket science.
MPOB, the oil palm research and management organisation in Malaysia (Government-funded and led) that directs the production of palm oil across the three States of Malaysia, will conduct the research and report to SOPPOA. SOPPOA is somewhat at MPOB’s mercy to suggest how farmers across the State of Sarawak can maximise yields and profit, especially from the coastal peatland zones, for which there is limited to zero knowledge on best management practices, from an optimum profit point of view. From an environmental point of view, I’m not sure there is a point of view.
I wonder what MPOB will conclude.