New, high-yielding planting material from PT SMART Tbk to increase crude palm oil yields to the highest levels in the industry

25/07/2017 16:36:08

Jakarta, 22 May 2017PT SMART Tbk (SMART), a subsidiary of Golden-Agri Resources Ltd (GAR), today announced its breakthrough in cultivating exceptionally high-yielding oil palm planting material, developed in the company’s research centres, SMART Research Institute’s (SMARTRI) and SMART’s Biotechnology Centre,   through an advanced biotechnology programme. These planting materials – Eka 1 and Eka 2 – are registered in Indonesia’s Catalogue of Seeds and were approved for cultivation on 21 April 2017 by the Directorate General of Plantation, Ministry of Agriculture. They will enable the company to increase yields to the highest levels in the industry, without increasing land under cultivation.

 

President Director PT SMART Tbk, Daud Dharsono, said, “This kind of innovation 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.”

 

Building on two decades of research jointly undertaken by SMARTRI and SMART’s Biotechnology Centre, the new planting materials were developed naturally through conventional selection programme and tissue culture from elite palms. They carry the potential of increasing the company’s crude palm oil yield to more than 10 tonnes of CPO/hectare/year at prime age (10-18 years) from our current capability to achieve around 7.5-8 tonnes/hectare/year under optimal weather and soil conditions. Indonesia’s industry average yield is still below 4 tonnes/hectare/year.

 

Head of Plant Production and Biotechnology Division Tony Liwang said, “Tissue culture helps us propagate planting materials through a non-GMO process that produces more crude palm oil, and in the near future, it will help to produce planting materials that make better use of nutrients and are more resistant to both disease and drought. With the success to date of our tissue culture programme, we can expect to see substantially higher yields with Eka 1 and Eka 2, and greater oil extraction levels from the fruit itself.”

 

At its prime maturity, the Eka 1 seedlings are expected to yield 10.8 tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO) per hectare, with oil extraction levels of 32 percent due to the exceptionally high ratio of oil in the fruit. The Eka 2 seedlings show even greater promise, with expected yields of 13.0 tonnes per hectare and oil extraction levels of 36 percent. In addition, Eka 1 and Eka 2's expected time to harvest is 24 months, compared to the current industry average of 30 months.

 

Over the next five years, the company will multiply these clones through tissue culture, to cultivate a sufficient quantity to plant over a larger commercial area starting in 2022. 

More than 4,000 oil palm trees of differing varieties were initially studied in 2007 by our team of researchers and field technicians over a ten year period to select and breed optimal specimens for the tissue culture programme, with the first clonal seedlings planted in 2011. Following numerous trials and commercial pilots, as of 2016, GAR has planted 4,000 hectares across Sumatra and West Kalimantan with seedlings from the programme.