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  • New palm oil seeds 'could end deforestation'

    2017 - 06.29

    The cultivation of new high-yielding palm oil seeds could allow an increase of oil yields that may eventually end deforestation.

    Smark Tbk, a subsidiary of Golden-Agri Resources, has registered two clones of high-yielding oil palm plant material in Indonesia’s Catalogue of Seeds after receiving approval for use from the Ministry of Agriculture, promising they will yield to the highest levels in the industry.

    Named Eka 1 and Eka 2, the new seedlings are set to allow the firm to increase their yields dramatically without increasing their land use. Specifically, while current optimal conditions allow for palm oil yields of around 8 tonnes per hectare each year, the new seeds could increase yields to 10 tonnes per hectare each year.

    Commenting on the news, President Director PT SMART Tbk, Daud Dharsono said: "This kind of breakthough is at the heart of our intensification efforts, which we see as essential to delivering sustainable production of palm oil to meet a growing global demand. We will continue to identify new technologies and accelerate the adoption of the latest modern techniques to enhance not only our own sustainable agricultural practices, but those of the industry as a whole."

    According to Smart Tbk, the new seedlings were developed naturally using a conventional selection technique and tissue culture from elite palms, and are the result of twenty years of collaboration between SMARTRI and Smart’s Biotechnology Centre.

    When they're fully mature, Eka 1 seedlings are expected to yield 10.8 tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO), with oil extraction levels of 32 per cent. Eka 2 are expected to yield 13 tonnes with oil extraction levels of 36 per cent, making them even more promising. The seedlings are also expected to reduce harvest time from 30 months to 24 months, which could help reduce the industry's impact on forests.

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