Battle against malnutrition takes the cake

Biofortification pioneers Drs Maria Andrade, Robert Mwanga, Jan Low and Howarth Bouis are 2016 World Food Prize

JULY 2016


KUALA LUMPUR: Ganorderma disease in oil palm trees is every planter’s nightmare. The disease which is caused by a fungus presents itself by rotting of the base stem of oil palm plants.

      Since time immemorial ganorderma has been difficult to eradicate and affects four per cent of the total planted area in the country. This translates to a loss of about RM1.5 billion to the industry.

         By the year 2020, it is expected that the total area affected by ganoderma will rise to

about 450,000 hectares which will translate to a loss of about RM11.25 billion.

        To stop such heavy loses Felda Global Ventures (FGV) has dugged deep into the genetic stack to create a new progenitor seed - YangambiGTI - which is tolerant to attacks by ganoderma.

      According to Datuk Zakaria Arshad, FGV’s CEO and Group President, “R&D and Agri Services Cluster took almost 10 years to develop the new planting material, which also happens to be the best long term approach to solve the ganoderma attack.”

Apart from that, FGV has also come up with a biocontrol agent called PalmaShield which is derived from Trichoderma asperellum.

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June 2016

Scientist talks his way to FameLab win



MALAYSIAN scientist Dr Abhimanyu Veerakumarasivam (pix) has beaten contestants from over 25 countries to win the prestigious FameLab science communication competition in Cheltenham, England.

According to news reports he said he was “pretty excited” about the victory, having prepared for it since winning the national competition in April.

“I just hope that it will spur more scientists and enthusiasts to communicate science effectively to the public as this will help improve engagement as well as create public awareness. “I truly believe that more effective science communication is needed as much as more science discoveries,” said the chairman of Young Scientists Network under the Academy Science Malaysia.

Since its debut at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival in 2005, FameLab has grown into one of the worlds leading science communication competitions. [...]

Developing bioethics framework for agriculture

“The work of scientists must be able to solve the people’s needs, creating wealth and high value products and developing products that are cost effective in the open market.” ― Datuk Sri Panglima Madius Tangau (picture)




BUKIT JALIL: In an e ort to develop a Bioethics Framework on agriculture, participants across sec- tors gathered in a workshop held on June 14.

e workshop themed “Science, Agriculture and Ethics”, was organised by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and Majlis Bioetika Negara (MBEN) at Technology Park, Malaysia here.

In his address, Datuk Seri Panglima Madius Tangau (picuture), Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation said that economic development shouldn’t be at the expense of ethics as this will leave a gap for criticism.

He stressed that there is a need for the Malaysian economy to move forward and it has to be driven by science, knowledge, technology and be led by innovation with the aid of good leadership.

“The work of scientists must be able to solve the people’s needs, creating wealth and high value products and developing products that are cost e ective in the open market,” added Madius. [...]