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TH Plantations, green and strong

TH Plantations Berhad (THP) is one of the rising stars in one of Malaysia’s most promising sectors, palm oil. What began as a small plantation operator with about 5,000 hectares of plantation land, THP today owns around 40,000 hectares and five palm oil mills. Moreover, in 2006, when THP listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia Securities, it was voted best performing Bain Board IPO by The Edge Financial Daily.

Though not the largest company of its kind in Malaysia, THP does strive for world-class standards and efficiency. “We would like to emulate or benchmark our efficiency with some of the best companies operating in the industry,” says CEO Dato’ Zainal Azwar bin Zainal Aminuddin.

In its efforts to raise efficiency, THP – a founding member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) – also strives for environmental sustainability. Applying the R&D conducted at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board as well as some of its own research, the company employs practices such as ideal planting density, optimum water management, biological (rather than chemical) controls, zero burning and prudent usage of chemicals and pesticides.

As for THP’s plans for the future, the CEO claims that his “personal plan is to make THP one of the top three most efficient and lowest cost producing plantation companies in the country.”

Dato’ Zainal Azwar bin Zainal Aminuddin CEO of TH Plantations Berhad

AGRICULTURE

Agriculturally, Malaysia is on the right track

The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro- based Industry encourages sustainable growth

IN ADDITION TO ensuring a continuous supply of food products for domestic con- sumption and export and increasing the sec- tor’s contribution to the GD , the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry al- so faces the task of environmental conser- vation and enforcing sustainable practices among the country’s thousands of large and small-scale farmers, growers and fishermen.

As these tasks go hand in hand – more sustainable practices result in the land’s longer lifespan and greater long-term prof- itability – the ministry’s policies can kill more than one bird with one stone.

ucts and marketing them to growing niche markets.

Malaysia caters for the growing organic- conscious consumer crowd, both at home and abroad. “The ministry fully supports and en- courage farmers to be involved in organic farming [...] We have started an organic farm- ing promotion programme and offer an ac- creditation scheme called the Malaysian Or- ganic Scheme (SOM),” says Datuk Seri Noh.

As for the environment, the ministry is fine- tuning the comprehensive National Agri- cultural Policy, which oversees the sustain- able management and utilisation of the land,

Although the minister Datuk Seri Haji Noh bin Omar has not been in office long, he has already initiated several programmes and policies that are making waves at the national, regional and local levels. One nov- elty is the establishment of an Agriculture Development Council in every parliamen- tary constituency. These councils will ensure that the local communities are involved in the monitoring of government projects, as well as offering farmers the best technical advice, inputs and soft loans.

water and agricultural inputs.

Did you know?

  • Some interesting agricultural facts:

  • 23.95 per cent of the land mass is used as

agricultural land

  • Malaysia has 7.6 million hectares of arable

and permanent cropland

  • Banana production has reached 535,000

metric tonnes

  • Meat production has reached 989,000

metric tonnes

  • Malaysia has exported pineapples since 1888

  • Today, Malaysia’s major products are

rubber, palm oil, cocoa and rice

  • Sabah, in northern Borneo, mainly

produces subsistence crops, rubber, timber, coconuts and rice

  • Sarawak, in western Borneo, grows rubber,

pepper and timber

Technology will also play an important role in improving agricultural productivi- ty. “We are currently working on the im- plementation of an integrated ICT system that enables all the players in the agro-food industry to access and share information such as production, price and technology,” explains the minister. This programme will help farmers identify the products that the markets require, thus resulting in better util- isation of resources and price stability. The ministry itself conducts market studies to get a better feel for consumers’ tastes and preferences so as to translate them into products that Malaysia can offer. Also, to increase competitiveness in the world mar- ket, Malaysia has begun branding its prod-

World Report 7

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