NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand (Nov. 14, 2012): Y.B Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Ongkili, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, today visited Suwan Farm in Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima, to obtain a first-hand view of the research by Kasetsart University of Thailand on Leucaena Leucocephala, known in Malaysia as “Petai Belalang”.
Accompanying him on the site visit were representatives from Sabah State Government, representatives from the private sector in Sabah, senior officials from MOSTI and Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation Sdn Bhd (BiotechCorp). Trial plots for Leucaena Leucocephala were established in Suwan Farm over 15 years ago and currently, various cultivars of the plant such as Tarramba, Peru, Cunningham as well as cultivars developed by Kasetsart University (KU19, KU66, KU45), are planted at the trial plots.
Leucaena Leucocephala has come to prominence in recent months after being identified as a major feedstock for power generation, animal feed and downstream biochemical production. The tree’s woody stem and branches are expected to serve as the primary feedstock for biochemical production at Kertih Biopolymer Park (KBP), an initiative promoted by Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation, East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) and the Terengganu State Government.
A major component of the value chain in KBP involves the conversion of woody biomass from Leucaena Leucocephala to industrial sugar, which will then be converted to various downstream biochemicals.