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Advancing Sustainable Agriculture: A Collaborative Effort to Combat Ganoderma Infection in Oil Palm Plantations between MPOB and IBG biofertilizer

The Malaysian palm oil industry stands as a vital pillar of the nation's economy, contributing significantly to both economic growth and social development. However, amidst its success, the industry faces a formidable challenge in the form of Ganoderma boninense, a fungal pathogen that causes Basal Stem Rot (BSR) disease in oil palm trees. This insidious disease, often referred to as the "cancer" of oil palm, poses a grave threat to plantations, resulting in substantial economic losses and environmental degradation. In response to this pressing issue, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and IBG Manufacturing Sdn Bhd have embarked on a collaborative journey to develop an innovative solution – the iM-bioGuard biofertilizer. This article explores the groundbreaking partnership between MPOB and IBG, the development of iM-bioGuard, and its potential to revolutionize sustainable agriculture practices in Malaysia.

In March 2024, the Malaysian palm oil industry witnessed a significant milestone with the announcement of a collaborative partnership between MPOB and IBG Manufacturing Sdn Bhd. The partnership aimed to address the urgent need for effective measures against Ganoderma infection in oil palm plantations. At the heart of this collaboration was the development of iM-bioGuard, a biofertilizer infused with potent bacteria Pseudomonas, designed to combat G. boninense and mitigate the devastating effects of BSR disease.


The trial for iM-bioGuard commenced with great anticipation, marking a crucial step towards combating Ganoderma infection in oil palm plantations. Dr. Mohd Hefni Rusli, Head of Plant Pathology and Biosecurity at MPOB, explained about the potential impact of iM-bioGuard during the trial initiation ceremony held in Machap Estate. "G. boninense poses a grave threat to plantations, causing substantial economic losses in Malaysia and Indonesia," remarked Dr. Hefni. "Although the disease progresses slowly, it is difficult to intervene as the pathogen spreads via root-to-root contact and causes damage to the oil palm xylem system, ultimately resulting in palm death." 

As part of the trial initiation process, a demonstration showcasing the efficacy of iM-bioGuard was organized at Machap Estate, owned by United Malacca Berhad (UMB). The event drew the attention of industry stakeholders, including Deputy Minister of Plantation and Commodities, Datuk Chan Foong Hin. Datuk Chan's presence underscored the government's commitment to supporting initiatives aimed at addressing critical issues in the palm oil industry.


During the demonstration, Datuk Chan expressed optimism about the potential impact of iM-bioGuard, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts in advancing sustainable agriculture practices. "The introduction of iM-bioGuard represents a significant milestone in our collective efforts to mitigate the devastating effects of Ganoderma on the oil palm industry," remarked Datuk Chan. "I hope that by starting the first trial with UMB, it can help to increase crop resilience while promoting environmentally sustainable practices."


Following the demonstration, Datuk Chan embarked on a visit to IBG Manufacturing Sdn Bhd to gain insight into the company's biofertilizer production process. The visit provided Datuk Chan with a deeper understanding of IBG's technological capabilities and commitment to innovation in sustainable agriculture. "I commend the collaborative efforts between the private sector and government agencies for the betterment of the palm oil industry," said Datuk Chan. "My gratitude to IBG Group CEO Datuk SP Yeat and the entire team for hosting the visit."


IBG Manufacturing Sdn Bhd's commitment to innovation and quality was evident during Datuk Chan's visit. With the largest fermentor system in the industry and ISO-certified facilities, IBG showcased its technological capabilities aimed at revolutionizing crop production and promoting soil health. The tour highlighted IBG's role as a pioneer in sustainable agriculture, with a focus on enhancing crop yields and reducing chemical fertilizer application rates.


Collaborative research efforts between IBG and MPOB on Ganoderma prevention using bacterial formulations further exemplify the company's dedication to driving positive change in the palm oil industry. The partnership between IBG and MPOB signifies a united front in advancing sustainable practices and safeguarding the future of Malaysia's oil palm industry. Through ongoing trials and collaborative research, the industry can look forward to innovative solutions that address critical challenges and promote long-term sustainability.

The collaborative partnership between MPOB and IBG Manufacturing Sdn Bhd represents a significant step forward in addressing the challenges posed by Ganoderma infection in oil palm plantations. Through the development of iM-bioGuard biofertilizer, the partners aim to revolutionize sustainable agriculture practices and mitigate the devastating effects of BSR disease.


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