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  The Star 6 Dec 06
Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund launched

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has launched a RM20mil Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund to promote ideas and proposals to enhance biodiversity linked to palm oil production worldwide.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the fund's objective was also to campaign for sustainable practices to enhance high standards.

He called on oil palm plantations around the world to join the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) that recognised palm oil as an important and versatile raw material for both food and non-food industries.

"However, production and use of palm oil must be done in a sustainable manner based on economic, social and environmental viability," Najib said in his keynote address for the International Bio-fuel and Alternative Energy Conference 2006 here yesterday. Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry parliamentary secretary Senator Datuk Dr S. Vijayaratnam read out the deputy premier's speech.

Najib also said that the palm oil industry was one of the main pillars of the nation's economy, with palm oil products contributing some RM27bil in exports last year.

"I am proud to note that the palm oil industry has been one of the leading producers and users of bio-fuel right from the beginning, namely, solid bio-fuel in the form of palm fibres and shell that are used to fuel the boilers in palm oil plants."

He also said that another new growth area of great potential was oil palm biomass, and that biomass utilisation was gaining momentum in recent years largely due to global concerns over environmental pollution.

"The Government would like the industry to tap all the available biomass and come up with value-added products that will enhance the industry's growth, competitiveness and sustainability," Najib said.

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