Pendang, 12 August 2017 – The Rice Straw Project under the Bioeconomy Community Development Programme (BCDP) is expected to enhance to the growth of high-value biodegradable products in Malaysia while promoting the country’s environmental sustainability and advancement of green technology. The project is overseen by Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation (Bioeconomy Corporation) and involves a 10-year agreement signed between BioNexus Status company Free The Seed Sdn Bhd and Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan Pendang Selatan (PPKPS). Farmers from PPKPS will supply 57,000 metric tons of rice straw from their 12 estates to Free The Seed, who will process the rice straw by utilising their patented enzyme technology to produce biodegradable packaging products with an estimated worth of over RM7 million annually for local and export markets, including Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Kedah State Executive Council Member, Dato’ Norsabrina Binti Mohd Noor who represented the Chief Minister of Kedah, Dato’ Seri Diraja Ahmad Bashah Bin Md Hanipah, said she is proud that Kedah can lead such an innovative initiative that transforms raw materials to high-value eco-friendly products while preserving the environment.
“The Rice Straw Project is in line with the aspirations of the Malaysian Government in optimizing the use of existing agricultural waste resources to produce value-added products. This is an important step in Kedah’s agriculture sector because the process in the whole value chain is environmentally friendly and prevents air pollution due to open air burning. This is a significant achievement in our efforts to transform waste to wealth to drive the economy, besides developing the farming community, especially in Kedah,” she said during the event here today.
Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau said Free The Seed’s enzyme technology, which is patented by the World Intellectual Property Orgnisation (WIPO), allows the company to produce about 60 million units of packaging products a year. Free The Seed has also received numerous local and international recognition for their biodegradable products, including Winner of Waste to Wealth Award under the Global Greentech Innovation Programme, as well as the Eco-Labeling criteria SIRIM ECO 009: 2016 which is certified by the Government for biomass-based products in food applications. With this label, consumers are assured of safety and product reliability with national and international standards.
“With the use of this technology, Free The Seed is able to transform paddy residues into various forms of highly demanded packaging products for the food industry, hospital use and packaging of manufactured goods. This innovation is a good example of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) discovery that can be applied into the industry, subsequently generating income and jobs. The project also underlines the contribution of rural communities to Malaysia’s economic growth through STI, especially in terms of supply of raw materials and agriculture,” he said during the ceremony. He added that PPKPS will receive minimum cumulative revenues worth RM7.41 million over the span of 10 years.
Chief Executive Officer of Bioeconomy Corporation, Dr. Mohd Shuhaizam Mohd Zain said that the biodegradable packaging industry has the potential to grow further due to efforts made by the Malaysian Government and other countries in reducing the use of plastic and polystyrene materials. According to a study by Transparency Market Research, the global eco-friendly packaging market was worth USD108.8 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach USD177.7 billion in 2018.