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KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 (Bernama) -- Several parties are actively pursuing research and development (R&D) on advanced technologies to enable the viable harvesting of tall oil palm trees, according to the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC).
Deputy Minister Datuk Willie Mongin said the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has continued to collaborate with various parties and research agencies in the country to conduct studies on harvesting technologies.
“The MPIC is also aware that the application of ‘disruptive’ technology is still quite costly and not many palm oil industry players can afford it, “ he said during the oral questions and answers session in the Dewan Rakyat today.
However, Willie said the government has continued to encourage the application of such technology in the oil palm industry by organising seminars and training sessions such as the Transfer of Technology Seminar, the MPOB International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition, as well as various programmes by the MPIC and MPOB.
He said this in reply to a question by Tan Sri Idris Jusoh (BN-Besut) on the MPIC’s strategy to encourage the use of disruptive technology to drive innovation to drive innovations in the oil palm industry, especially in relation to harvesting machines.
He added that the government has also established the Mechanisation and Automation Research Consortium of Oil Palm (MARCOP) in 2021 to identify, plan and implement mechanisation and automation strategies in the oil palm industry as well as to finance the development of suitable harvesting technology.
“MARCOP has also been tasked with addressing the labour shortage issue in the industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, the deputy minister noted that the MPOB has produced more than 50 R&D mechanisation to be commercialised to boost productivity in the oil palm plantation sector.
“To reduce the reliance on labour in harvesting activities, the use of electric-powered cutting machines has also been introduced to increase productivity compared to manual methods,” he added.
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