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Felda emphasises circular economy at Bumiputera Economic Congress 2024

Publish date: Fri, 23 Feb 2024, 01:44 PM

PUTRAJAYA (Feb 23): The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) will place greater emphasis on the practice of circular economy in all sectors through the Bumiputera Economic Congress (KEB) 2024.

The KEB 2024, scheduled from Feb 29 until March 2 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here, is targeting 3,000 participants and will also include representatives from the Malay, Kadazan, Dusun, Iban and Dayak business chambers, as well as representatives from the Orang Asli community.

Felda chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said Malaysia should have a roadmap toward the implementation of a more comprehensive circular economy.

“The roadmap is necessary so that large landowners such as Felda and FGV Holdings Bhd will have many options in increasing their income,” he told Bernama.

The concept of a circular economy is the concept of use, return and recreate, to maximise use and yield.

Ahmad Shabery said a different perspective on the circular economy is necessary, so that Felda people can generate new income.

“As it is now, settlers are told to increase productivity in terms of fresh fruit bunches (FFB). If reaching an average of 25 tonnes per year is considered good, the return for them is RM700-RM800 per tonne, according to the current FFB price.

“At the factory level, productivity is seen in terms of extraction rate (OER). A total of 23% of the total FFB sent is also considered good,” he said.

Currently, many energy-producing companies are pursuing the supply of biomass, he said, which includes a significant amount of juice pulp called empty fruit bunches (EFB), as well as kernel shells, which can also be used as fuel.

“As it is derived from recycled materials, entrepreneurs will receive carbon credits that can boost their revenue.

“That is why the price of EFB can be more expensive than coal. Similarly, other residues such as palm coir ash can be used as fertiliser.

“Wastewater that used to be considered a pollutant can be processed into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF),” Ahmad Shabery said, adding that decanter cake can also be used for animal feed, the price of which is getting higher.

“However, the price for all these wastes has yet to be set. The factory considers [these wastes] its own and can be sold as it pleases. There is no credible palm waste price either in the commodity exchange market, or guidelines by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB),” he added.

Ahmad Shabery expressed the need to have guidelines or mechanisms, so that the income of settlers and smallholders is not only from palm fruit, which is assessed from 20% extraction, while high-value waste is not taken into account at all.

“Many countries have already imposed a carbon tax on any industry that releases carbon into the environment. This industry is forced to make up for the tax by buying credit carbon certificates from those who implement recycling programmes, or any measures to reduce carbon production,” he said.

A total of 10 clusters covering 10 sectors will be established in KEB 2024, namely education reform and human capital, institution of technical, vocational education and training (main career choice), and strengthening of the halal industry.

Other clusters are rural development and empowerment of Orang Asli communities, wealth creation and corporate dominance, competitiveness of Bumiputera enterprises, mastery of new technologies, Felda and Federal territory land, socioeconomy of Sabah Bumiputera and socioeconomy of Sarawak Bumiputera.

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