Govt To Boost Automation In Plantation Sector Fadillah


 


PARLIAMENT | The government will continue its cooperation with plantation industry players to increase automation and reduce reliance on migrant workers, a shortage which had caused losses of up to RM20 billion in the palm oil sector. 
Plantation and Commodities Minister Fadillah Yusof said his ministry through the Mechanisation & Automation Research Consortium for Oil Palm (Marcop) - set up in 2021 with an RM60 million allocation - has so far received 19 research applications from technology providers and universities.
Among others, he cited proposed inventions to automate processes in the palm oil sector, from detecting readiness to harvest, cutting, and harvesting.
“The technological advancements are still in the upgrading stage for adaptation in plantations,” said Fadillah (above), who is also deputy prime minister, in his winding-up speech of the royal address.
Aside from domestic stakeholders, Fadilah said Marcop is in discussions with various foreign developers, having identified immediate, mid-term, and long-term targets to be met.
“Each strategy (to adopt a specific technology) also has a target of expected reduction in the use of labour, particularly for harvesting,” he said.
At the same time, Fadilah credited efforts by the Home Ministry and Human Resources Ministry to expedite the recruitment of migrant workers through the Labour Recalibration Programme and relaxed hiring conditions.
“The challenge now is how far source countries can assist to facilitate the recruitment process for us to bring more workers in.
“So far, we have seen an increase in the number of migrant workers entering across all sectors,” he said.
Malaysia had previously imposed a freeze on the recruitment of migrant workers from Bangladesh, while the Indonesian government had banned its citizens from working in Malaysia.
The two restrictions from the top two source countries for migrant workers here were lifted through bilateral negotiations but the number of new workers arriving at local plantations remained small. - Mkini


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