Kota Kinabalu: Malaysia and Indonesia will explore amending the existing memorandum of understanding (MoU) on bilateral cooperation on commodities to include jatropha, besides the existing areas of palm oil, cocoa and pepper.
This was agreed during the fourth joint committee meeting co-chaired by Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and Indonesia’s Agriculture Minister Dr Anton Apriyantono which was held here Tuesday.
“It is a quite new crop though jatropha has been known in both countries but not very much work has been done on it, therefore early cooperation is useful,” said Dompok at a joint press conference.
“It is a crop that requires a lot of attention, so we have a task force to look into the scope of work and see what is the best thing to do in promoting this plant,” he said.
Dompok said the issues to be considered by the two countries before jatropha could be planted on a commercial scale included the handling of the crop’s by-products.
According to a joint statement issued, the amendment is aimed at formalising cooperation in this area and establishing a separate working group for activities like the exchange of technical information and data on research and development (R&D) on jatropha.
The activities will also cover productivity, agronomic practices and stimulation techniques for simultaneous flowering and fruits ripening.
The working group will also seek to convene joint seminars, conferences and workshops, secondment of researchers between the two countries’ R&D centres, and cooperation in the analysis and extraction of toxins from jatropha.
At the last joint committee meeting in Bali, Indonesia, in April last year, both parties agreed to include jatropha under the current framework of cooperation.
A task force comprising officials from both countries was established to meet and discuss the scope of work and possible areas of cooperation