Plantation Industry to Become More Sustainable in Malaysia
When questioned about her plans for the plantation industry, Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin, the Plantation Industries, and Commodities Minister, said there are a few plans in motion. According to her, the automation and mechanisation of the said industry are already on their way to becoming more environment-friendly and less dependent on foreign workers.
She also added that MPIC is actively taking initiatives to make sure that the plantation industry is sustainable. Currently, tractors and drones are being used instead of labourers to spray seeds, pesticides, and fertilisers. Before this, Malaysia has been more reliant on foreign workers to work at plantation sites. When the pandemic hit and MCO were put into place, the plantation industry and its workers were affected.
Now that the government reopened its borders nationally, there has been an increasing influx of foreign labour, albeit slow. According to the Minister, the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System is working on making the new system more efficient. She said that although the government opened the borders, the return has not been quick or much. Therefore, depending predominantly on foreign forces will impinge the plantation industry. However, there’s still hope, as in August, the process of foreign labour entry will be faster.
Zuraida is confident that as soon as the Ministry fully implements the new and improved system, the foreign labour delegation will be much smoother and more synchronised. Additionally, the new system would also have a traction function feature. The future’s purpose is to trace the workers in case they change occupations or ditch their employers.
The minister has also been keen on planting different types of palm oil trees, shorter ones. This would be easier to harvest when it comes to production. Known better as ‘dwarf palm oil,’ given their shorter height, it would be less challenging to harvest. In order to make this a success, a committee has been put together to overlook the process of mechanisation application. Furthermore, the government has allotted a whopping RM60 million to make the industry better.
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