PKE product will make Malaysia less reliant on imports: Sime Darby

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A supplier of a new, ultra-refined palm kernel expeller (PKE) for use in feed, branded Purafex, says the product has the potential to transform the Malaysian market.

“It is a game changer not only for the palm oil industry, but also for the poultry, aquaculture and agribusiness sectors [in Malaysia],” said Mohd Haris Mohd Arshad, head of global trading and marketing, Sime Darby Plantation.

The PKE is a by-product created during the palm kernel crushing process at Sime Darby Plantation’s Carey Island Kernel Crushing Plant in Klang.

Purafex, produced from a Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified source, will reduce soy and maize imports and bring down the cost of feed, along with playing a role in the country’s food security efforts in the context of Malaysia’s growing population, forecast to reach more than 33 million by 2020, he told us. 

“The main ingredient of animal feed [in Malaysia] is maize, which is imported from abroad. In 2015, Malaysia imported maize from Argentina and Brazil to the tune of US$415m and US$321m respectively to support the livestock feed manufacturing sector. The volume of such imports will continue to increase unless we reduce the maize component in feedstock production. The cost of soy meal and maize is three times higher than the cost of Purafex/palm kernel expeller.

“With Purafex, we now can replace at least 30% of feed content with palm kernel cake (PKC). The use of about 30% locally produced components like PKC in the manufacturing of animal feed will provide savings of more than 10% or around RM180 per ton of chicken feed cost.”

The ingredient is Halal and non-GMO, he added.

Synergistic effort

The company developed the PKE ingredient with funding supplied by the Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB). 

“This project was a synergistic effort between Sime Darby Plantation and the MPOB. Funding from MPOB is an integral part of its contribution and commitment to the industry, and ensured the success of the project. In addition, MPOB also has technical capabilities, especially in R&D.”

Trials of feed containing Purafex have produced chickens with much lower fat content, and the growth rate of poultry fed with animal feed containing Purafex was comparable to other commercial feed, he claimed.  The mortality rate was lower than the industry standard of 4% to 5%, he said.

In terms of targeting other markets in Asia with the palm kernel cake, he said Sime Darby would consider such expansion if demand warranted it. “It also depends on the financial viability of production. As of now, we foresee that the use of PKC-based feedstock could give an additional boost to the local feed manufacturing sector. We believe that the demand from other markets will grow once the PKC-based ingredient for feedstock is well established [on the Malaysian market].”

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