Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 29 December 2017  2017 p.  431-439
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21894/jopr.2017.00017

THE OIL PALM INDUSTRY IN MALAYSIA: THRIVING WITH TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNOLOGIES

Author(s): KUSHAIRI, A*; SINGH, R* and ONG-ABDULLAH, M*

Arriving at this milestone after an illustrious century, the growth from an ornamental palm to a multibillion dollar commodity crop in Malaysia has been a remarkable journey for oil palm. From its humble beginnings in Malaya as a monoculture plantation crop in 1917, it has grown to occupy over 5.7 million hectares of land space by 2016, demonstrating the impact the crop has had on the country’s economy over the last 100 years. Its importance has led to many initiatives being implemented with a concerted effort to effectively develop and safeguard the posterity of the industry. In treasuring the past, engaging the present and charting the future, this review reflects briefly on the direction the industry has taken to reach this present state. The foresightedness of early players in the industry has helped thrust the industry forward by systematically building a rich resource within the country. As the industry matures, it is only natural for challenges to surface and there is a constant drive to manage public perception and to stay sustainable in order to remain competitive. In this respect, oil palm has followed in the footsteps of other crops in decoding its genome and simultaneously answering some long-standing questions about the biology of the oil palm. Efforts have also been devoted to automate and mechanise the industry as a solution to address the labour supply issue. Midstream and downstream sectors have experienced similar transformations in their operations as well. Essentially, the employment of these so-called transformative technologies which are the essence of the 4th Industrial Revolution are comparatively still at its infancy for this industry. However, as precision agriculture gains prominence and in keeping to Malaysia’s 2050 national transformation aspirations, we envisage that these disruptive technologies will be the driver of innovations in all sectors, especially oil palm.oil palm, technologies, sustainable, precision, agriculture.

Keywords: , , , ,

Author Information
*Malaysian Palm Oil Board, 6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.


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